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Blues Out to Maintain 100 Per Cent Home League Record Against Accrington
Friday, 16th Oct 2020 13:54

Top-of-the-table Town will be aiming to continue their 100 per cent League One home record when Accrington Stanley visit Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues have played only two of their five league fixtures, in which they remain unbeaten, at home with both games ending 2-0 to Town.

Form at Portman Road was one of the main reasons the Blues disappointed last season, winning only six of the 17 home games which were played in the curtailed campaign, while drawing five and losing six.

Accrington have also made a decent start to 2020/21 and sit sixth, four points behind Town.

On the road, they have won one, a 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon, and lost one, a loss by the same scoreline at Burton Albion.

Manager Paul Lambert says he knows it won’t be an easy afternoon: “Tough game. It’s really early, but it’s a tough game.

“We know we have to play well, we know we have to take part in the game. But we are playing well and we’ll try everything we can to win.”

With the Blues gaining a reputation as the team to beat in the division and for controlling games with their passing football, is he anticipating clubs employing spoiling tactics against his side?

“That’s the same token for us,” he reflected. “We can’t match teams physically, so we have to try and play football.

“In this moment we’re playing really good football, we look really confident with the ball and we try everything we can.

“Each and every game is so different and [Stanley manager] John Coleman’s got a good team at Accrington, but we’ll try and win.”

Lambert will almost certainly stick largely with the team which beat Blackpool 4-1 at Bloomfield Road last weekend.

Tomas Holy will be in goal with skipper Luke Chambers and Myles Kenlock the full-backs and Toto Nsiala and James Wilson the centre-halves.

There could be one change in midfield with Jon Nolan, who missed the trip to the Fylde coast with a calf problem, fit again. That could see Emyr Huws drop back to the bench. Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop will continue in the other midfield roles.

Up front, Oli Hawkins will again be in the centre with four-goal top scorer Gwion Edwards on the left and Alan Judge likely to keep his place on the right ahead of Freddie Sears, who was rested last week after the hectic spell of early season fixtures.

Recent loan signing Keanan Bennetts will be hoping to make his home debut from the bench having come on as a sub for his Blues debut at Blackpool, while ex-Stanley frontman Kayden Jackson is likely to get his second cameo as a substitute having recovered from the groin problem which saw him miss the early weeks of the campaign.

Accrington have won last two in League One, the 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon was followed by last week’s home defeat of Rochdale by the same scoreline, and manager Coleman says his side travel to Suffolk in good spirits after those results.

“We know it will be a tough game but we go there full of confidence,” he told the Stanley official website.

“We have worked really hard in training in the last two or three weeks and the atmosphere is good at the club, the place is bouncing.

“Wins work wonders for your confidence, we have a high tempo in training and it’s a good place to be.

“It is early days and I do not think you can judge anyone after five games but everyone does look at the league table and Ipswich have had a good start. I think you can only tell after 10/12 games when things start to settle down.

“We know they have good players but we know we have good players, we can give anyone a game in this league and we will be going there to win.”

Reflecting on last season’s games between the sides, the Blues’ 4-1 win at Portman Road and Accrington’s 2-0 victory at the Wham Stadium, he added: “We played poorly at their place and they played well. I am hoping that is fresh in the minds of our players.

“If you rewind to the game at our place, we were more than value for the 2-0 win. We were excellent on the day, it was live on Sky and we bossed it from start to finish so we have to remember that as well.”

Striker Dion Charles will serve the third match of a three-game ban, while Sean McConville (achilles) and Mo Sangare (ankle) closing in on returns.

The teams have only previously met three times in their history, all in the last two seasons.

In January, goals from Jackson, James Norwood, Judge and Will Keane saw Town to a 4-1 victory over Stanley at Portman Road, ending an eight-game League One winless run.

Jackson finished a fine move from close range on 12, Norwood deftly chipped the second in the 29th minute and Judge scored his first Town league goal a minute before half-time to give the Blues' a 3-0 lead at the break.

Sub Offrande Zanzala netted a late penalty consolation for the visitors before Keane celebrated his birthday by making it 4-1 in injury time.

In October last year at the Wham Stadium, Colby Bishop scored twice for the home side - the second a penalty - in a 2-0 victory to halt the Blues’ run of five successive wins in all competitions.

Bishop nodded the opener in the 17th minute before converting from the spot on 41 after a foul by Nsiala. Both sides ended the match with 10 men after Armando Dobra and Ross Sykes were red-carded for an off-the-ball clash with 11 minutes remaining.

In January last year the Lancastrians won a third round FA Cup tie 1-0 via Billy Kee’s 76th-minute goal.

Town striker Jackson joined the Blues from Accrington for £1.6 million in the summer of 2018, while right-back Janoi Donacien moved to Town for £750,000 during the same close season. Both were members of Stanley’s 2017/18 League Two title-winning side.

Blues defender Nsiala had a loan spell with Accrington from Everton in the second half of the 2011/12 season and then joined them on a permanent basis the following summer, spending a further 18 months at the Wham Stadium.

No current Accrington player has been with the Blues, although keeper-coach Tony Warner had a trial with Town in 1998.

Saturday’s referee is Robert Lewis from Shrewsbury, who has shown seven yellow and no red cards in three games so far this season.

Lewis’s only previous Town game was the 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers on New Year’s Day when he yellow-carded Wilson and Luke Woolfenden and showed no other cards.

Squad from: Holy, Cornell, Chambers (c), Donacien, Kenlock, Nsiala, Wilson, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Dozzell, Bishop, Huws, Nolan, Judge, Lankester, Edwards, Bennetts, Sears, Hawkins, Jackson.

Photo: Matchday Images

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bluesteal74 added 14:15 - Oct 16

chepstowblue added 14:49 - Oct 16
We certainly settled down after 10-12 games last season !! So much so that I was relieved Bolton had a points deduction !

TractorRoyNo1 added 15:11 - Oct 16

grow_our_own added 15:48 - Oct 16
If Jackson's anywhere near fit, I'd prefer he started as centre-forward against his old club. Was one of our biggest attacking threats last year. COYBs!

CavendishBlue added 17:00 - Oct 16
How is Bennetts going to make his home debut from the bench if he's not even in the squad!!!!

Saxonblue74 added 17:25 - Oct 16
It's looking increasingly like the pressure of home games in front of a big crowd played it's part last season. Despite the position we finished in the league I'm sure there must have been a sense of expectancy to win every game whilst playing for a club with such a huge fall from grace.

ThaiBlue added 17:46 - Oct 16
4-0 to the blues.

PhilTWTD added 23:00 - Oct 16


bobble added 08:55 - Oct 17
4-0 to town ...ollie to score his first 2

dirtydingusmagee added 14:09 - Oct 17
3 points today , any which way we get em would be good result, i dont think it will be a walk in the park .

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