|Ipswich Town 1 v 4 Peterborough United|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 1st February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Town Host Posh Aiming to Maintain Home Improvement
Friday, 31st Jan 2020 15:04
Town host Peterborough United in a third-v-fourth clash at Portman Road on Saturday looking to maintain their recently improved home form.
The Blues are top of a League One table based on away results alone having taken 28 points from 16 games but only 16th on home form having picked up 20 from their 12 matches at Portman Road.
However, with 10 of their final 16 League One fixtures at home, the Blues have won and dominated their last two games at Portman Road, a 4-1 defeat of Accrington Stanley and then last weekend’s 1-0 success over Lincoln City.
“It’s been role reversal really,” manager Lambert said reflecting on the disparity between home and away form.
“Normally you get your home form like our away form, so we’ve done it a different way, but the home form is where most of your fans come and see you, and we’ve got to rectify that.”
Lambert believes the home support will have a big role to play in the final 10 games at Portman Road.
“Huge,” he said. “The fans have got a massive part to play in it, and we need them.
“This is our job, football is our job, and their job is to come and create that atmosphere. I think fans used to come to a football match in years gone by and just watch a game and support the team. But now it becomes a job for them as well to help us, we need them to do their job as well, and that’s important.
“The fans have been absolutely brilliant, absolutely phenomenal. The travelling they do here is incredible and you actually forget how much travelling people do here, especially for midweek games where it can take five or six hours to get home.
“It’s good for them that a lot of games are at home and if they keep supporting us the way they are, then it’ll be great.”
He added: “It’s paramount and it can never be underestimated the power of a crowd for you or against you as an opposition.
“I’ve played in games where, dear oh dear, you can’t get out at certain times and teams are coming at you from all angles, and you think ‘When’s it going to stop?’ because the crowd wills it in.
“And we need that, we need the crowd to will it in. And if you have that, then it can pay huge dividends with an opposition, they’re going to panic and the crowd generate that.”
Turning to Saturday’s game against Posh, Lambert says he’s expecting a different sort of match to Tuesday’s at Rotherham with Darren Ferguson’s side playing a more passing-based game compared with the Millers’ direct approach.
“Yes, and that’s no slight on Rotherham at all,” the Blues boss continued. “Rotherham did well, they deservedly beat us, they were better than us on the night and they play a different type of football.
“We might have got an underserved draw when it hit the post, but other than that we didn’t really cause them too much, we never did well enough with the ball.
“Without the ball we weren’t too bad, we defended quite well but with the ball, we couldn’t get going.
“As I said, we weren’t good enough with the ball the other night, we defended okay, but we never really got any major hits, we got beaten with a set play, but I don’t think we were good enough with the ball.
“It’ll be a different game that way, credit to Paul [Warne]’s team they beat us fair and square up there. It’s a different game, a tough game, but equally it’ll be tough for Peterborough. We’re at home and we’re playing well, it’s a good game.”
Having gone on a run where they failed to win for seven games in all competitions, losing five, Peterborough have won their last three while conceding only once.
“That’s what can happen,” Lambert added on Posh’s return to form. “As I said, there’s a hell of a lot of games, 16 games to go and there’s a lot of football still to be played. It’s a difficult game, but equally it’s a difficult game for Peterborough.”
Lambert believes the division is wide open with teams down in sixth and seventh very much in the running for a place in the top two.
“Yes, because of the number of games left anything can happen,” he added. “Sixteen games is a lot of football. Then you’ve got the Easter period as well to go through.
“As I’ve said before, there’s no point keeping an eye on the table and who is at the top, not in this moment, it’s just about game by game.”
Peterborough are the division’s top scorers on 52 - Town are the fourth-highest on 40 - and Lambert admits his defence will have to be on its mettle against the likes of Ivan Toney, League One’s top scorer with 18, and Mo Eisa, the fourth most clinical marksman on 13.
“They are [a free-scoring side] and they’ve brought a few in as well, so they’ve spent a bit of money. But as I said before it’s going to be a hard game for Peterborough.”
Lambert dismissed the importance of beating Posh as they’re a side in the top six with the Blues not having beaten any of the teams currently in the automatic or play-off places.
“I never look at that,” he said. “I think we’re going to try and win a game. It doesn’t matter whether you’re second, third or 18th or whatever it is, we’re trying to win a football match.
“So, we’ll go and try our best to win, it’s a difficult game, but we’re in good form.”
Team-wise, Lambert hinted at his morning press conference that he probably wouldn’t look to make changes unless they are enforced despite Tuesday’s defeat given the good form prior to the visit to the New York Stadium.
Will Norris is likely to keep his place in goal behind a back three of skipper Luke Chambers, James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden with Luke Garbutt and Gwion Edwards the wing-backs.
Emyr Huws seems unlikely to be risked having suffered an ankle knock at Rotherham and Cole Skuse would appear the favourite to replace the Wales international in midfield alongside Flynn Downes.
Alan Judge will continue ahead of those two with Will Keane and Kayden Jackson again probably the front pairing, although James Norwood could come in for the former Hull City man having made a strong impression after coming off the bench on Tuesday.
Blues wing-back Edwards will be walking a disciplinary tightrope having amassed nine bookings with a 10th leading to a two-match ban.
Peterborough go into the game having won three in a row, including Tuesday’s 2-0 victory at Accrington. Away from home this season they have played 15, won four, drawn four and lost seven.
Posh have lost winger Marcus Maddison, who has joined Hull City on loan with a view to joining the Tigers on a permanent basis in the summer.
However, top scorer Toney looks set to remain a Peterborough player despite reported interest from nine clubs in the Championship with nobody apparently willing to agree the £12 million deal and then loan-back Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony is understood to want. They have also rebuffed bids from Gillingham for centre-back Rhys Bennett.
Over the course of January Peterborough have added midfielders Jack Taylor from Barnet, Reece Brown from Huddersfield and Sammie Szmodics from Bristol City, the latter pair on loan.
Defender Frazer Blake-Tracy is back after injury, however, forward Idris Kanu is still out with an eye problem.
“Ipswich are very difficult to beat at home and they are a tough opponent with lots of good players, particularly in attacking areas,” manager Darren Ferguson told his club’s official website.
“They have good options with Norwood, Keane and Jackson and will be looking to bounce back from the last defeat to Rotherham.
“We are taking a good travelling support, so it should be a great atmosphere. We go there in good form with momentum and we want to carry that on.”
Historically, Posh have the upper hand, winning five times (two in the league), five matches having ended in draws (four) and the Blues having been victorious on three occasions including the on-penalties victory in the Leasing.com Trophy (once in the league).
The last three league games between the sides have all ended in draws, as did the 90 minutes in the Leasing.com Trophy tie.
Peterborough's only win at Portman Road was as a non-league club in the FA Cup third round in 1960 when they defeat Sir Alf Ramsey's Blues 3-2.
Town's 3-2 victory at Portman Road in the Championship in March 2012 is the Blues only home league win against Posh.
In December, Barry Cotter celebrated his 21st birthday by netting the decisive penalty as the Blues beat Peterborough 6-5 from the spot after a 1-1 draw at London Road in the second round of the Leasing.com Trophy.
Idris El Mizouni’s first senior goal saw Town into the lead in the 23rd minute but Ricky-Jade Jones levelled for Peterborough 10 minutes later.
Town and Posh faced one another in League One at London Road in August when skipper Chambers headed an injury-time equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Norwood gave the Blues the lead in the fourth minute but Posh levelled through Ivan Toney, then went in front via Eisa.
Norwood saw a penalty saved and Town looked set for defeat until Chambers’s last-gasp leveller.
The teams last met at Portman Road in November 2012 when DJ Campbell netted his fifth goal in nine games from the penalty spot in the second half as the Blues drew 1-1 with fellow strugglers Peterborough.
Posh went ahead via Lee Tomlin during a dreadful first half with Town improving after the break.
Blues winger Edwards joined Town from Posh for £700,000 in the summer of 2018. In two years at London Road the Welshman made 62 starts and 12 sub appearances, scoring 16 times.
Town forward Roberts, currently on loan at Gillingham, was a first-year scholar with Peterborough before being released, while striker Jackson underwent a medical at London Road in the summer of 2018, Posh having agreed a fee with Accrington before the frontman ultimately opted to join the Blues.
Town’s academy head of player and coaching development Bryan Klug was a player with Peterborough between 1984 and 1985.
The Blues spoke to Posh keeper Christy Pym prior to signing Tomas Holy in the summer, with the former England U20 international subsequently moving to London Road from hometown club Exeter.
Veteran midfielder George Boyd almost joined the Blues from Peterborough in the summer of 2012 but Town were unable to agree terms with the Scotland international. Peterborough’s first-team coach is former Town loan striker Aaron Mclean.
Saturday’s referee is Andy Woolmer from Northamptonshire, who has shown 62 yellow cards and two red in 24 games so far this season.
Woolmer’s last Town match was the 1-1 draw at West Brom last March in which he booked Edward, Jonas Knudsen and two Baggies.
Prior to that he had been in charge of the 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United in December in which he cautioned Trevoh Chalobah, Jordan Spence and two of the visitors.
The previous month he was also at Portman Road for the 1-1 draw with Preston in Lambert’s first game in charge of the Blues in which he red-carded Lilywhites keeper Chris Maxwell for a second bookable offence and also showed yellow cards to Chambers, Edwards, Matt Pennington, Freddie Sears and two other visiting players.
Woolmer also officiated in the 3-0 victory over QPR in November 2016 in which he booked Tom Lawrence and three opposition players.
Before that he refereed the pre-season friendly at Cambridge United in July the same year and the 1-0 home victory over Nottingham Forest in the Championship in the previous March in which he booked Luke Hyam and four of the visitors.
Two months earlier he had taken control of the 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Portsmouth in which he red-carded Piotr Malarczyk for two bookable offences - the only yellow cards of the night - and also awarded a penalty against the Polish defender.
He also took control of the 2-1 win at Wigan in September 2014 in which he booked only Tyrone Mings and Christophe Berra.
Woolmer also refereed the 3-3 pre-season friendly draw at Notts County in July 2013 and the 3-0 victory over Bristol City at Portman Road in the Championship in March 2012 in which he booked three Town players and four Robins.
Squad from: Norris, Holy, Edwards, Donacien, Garbutt, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Skuse, Dozzell, Downes, Huws, Judge, Bishop, Nolan, Jackson, Keane, Norwood, Sears.
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