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Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Crewe Alexandra
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 31st October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Blues Host Crewe Aiming to Maintain 100 Per Cent Home Record
Friday, 30th Oct 2020 14:36

Town host Crewe Alexandra aiming to continue their 100 per cent home league record having won their first four games at Portman Road without conceding.

In 2019/20 home form was one of the big reasons the Blues’ season was such a disappointment with their record over the curtailed campaign reading played 17, won six, drew five and lost six.

This year, Town won their first three games 2-0 before Teddy Bishop’s 87th-minute goal saw them to a 1-0 victory over Gillingham on Tuesday.

Crewe are currently 15th in League One, nine points behind the Blues in third, but having picked up some decent results following their promotion from League Two as champions.

They beat Doncaster 2-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium last weekend only days after Rovers had defeated the Blues 4-1, while in September they overcame the MK Dons - who drew 1-1 with Town at Stadium MK when they feel they should have won - at Gresty Road 2-0.

However, the Cheshire side go into Saturday’s game on the back of a defeat, having lost 1-0 at home to League One leaders Lincoln City in midweek.

“Every game is hard, every game you play in the league,” Town manager Paul Lambert said.

“I’ve never known a game that’s easy, unless you get into a lead of four or five, but it’s never straightforward. Every game is hard and this won’t be any different.

“Equally, it’ll be hard for them, it’s the same for them. We give them every respect that they deserve, it’ll be a hard game.”

Like Town, the Railwaymen have a tradition of playing passing football and Lambert says the current Crewe team adheres to those principles.

“They’ve played really well, a good football team and really good football,” he said. “It’s a tough game for us, it’s a hard game, I think they are a good football side.”

Given his policy of selecting settled sides if results are going well this season, Lambert is unlikely to make too many changes to his team, although might look at resting one or two with a trip to Sunderland following on Tuesday.

Tomas Holy will continue in goal with the back four again almost certainly set to be, from the right, skipper Luke Chambers, Luke Woolfenden, Mark McGuinness and Stephen Ward.

In midfield, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop appear set to continue, but Jack Lankester could be rested having played two games in four days after his lengthy absence due to back problems.

With Jon Nolan serving the second game of a two-match ban, Emyr Huws could return to the side or alternatively Alan Judge if the Irishman is over his hamstring problem.

Up front, Lambert may well opt to start as he did against Gillingham with Freddie Sears on the left, Gwion Edwards on the right and Oli Hawkins down the middle.

Kayden Jackson could be back in the 18 following his spell out with Covid-19 but the match will come too soon for James Norwood, who has just returned to training after his hamstring injury.

Alex boss David Artell is very much looking forward to his side’s first trip to Portman Road for 15 years.

“I don’t think you get too many fixtures that our tastier than Ipswich away,” he told crewealex.net.

“They are a club with a terrific history and they are still a big club, especially at this level.

“They are a good footballing team and Paul has been around the block and sets his teams up really well. He has great experience and make no mistake about it, we will be up against another good team.

“That is what we wanted and worked so hard to get out of League Two for. If we are travelling for four and a bit hours then we would rather be going to Ipswich.

“Ipswich will be competitive and will look to open us up. It will be a challenge. The players will relish the opportunity and chance to impress.

“They are not infallible, we're not going to Man City, Liverpool or Barcelona, it's Ipswich. We respect them but it is 11 v 11 and we will give it our best shot.”

Overall, Town have won 10 matches between the teams (eight in the league), Crewe three (two), with three (two) ending in draws.

The teams last met in the Carling Cup in 2010 at Gresty Road when skipper David Norris was Town’s saviour as his extra-time goal saw the Blues to a 1-0 victory. Norris struck in the 102nd minute to put Roy Keane’s side into the third round.

In the league, the teams most recently faced one another in a Championship game in February 2006 in which Dean McDonald's first and only goal for Town saw the Blues to their third comeback 2-1 win in successive games.

Crewe had gone ahead through Steve Jones on 15 but Alan Lee equalised three minutes later and McDonald's 53rd minute strike gave the Blues their first midweek win of the season.

Town had won the Portman Road fixture by the same scoreline in the preceding October with Darren Currie and Nicky Forster scoring as the Blues again came from behind.

The visitors had much the better of the first half and went ahead via a David Vaughan free-kick. After the break Richard Naylor, by that stage of his Blues career a regular starter at the centre of the defence, went up front and was involved in both goals.

Neither squad includes anyone who has played for the opposition, however, the Alex’s goalkeeper-coach is be-masked glovesman Fred Barber, who made one appearance for the Blues on loan from Luton in December 1995, a 2-2 draw at Wolves.

Saturday’s referee is Trevor Kettle, who has shown 19 yellow cards and one red in eight games so far this season.

The Rutland-based whistler’s most recent Town match was the 1-0 defeat to Coventry at Portman Road in March in which he cautioned Dozzell, Sears and Will Norris.

Prior to that he was in charge of the 3-0 home victory over Shrewsbury in August last year in which he red-carded Shrews midfielder Shaun Whalley in the 38th minute for a second bookable offence and showed yellow cards to three of his team-mates and Flynn Downes.

In addition, Kettle awarded the Blues a penalty after Kane Vincent-Young had had his legs taken away from him by Josh Laurent, which was converted by Norwood.

He was also in charge of the 2-1 win at Fulham in December 2015 in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.

Before that, he was the man in the middle for the 4-4 draw at Derby in October 2013 in which he booked five Blues and one home player.

Kettle also refereed the 1-1 draw at Barnsley in September 2012 when he again booked five Town players.

He also officiated in the 2-1 win at Burnley in April 2011 when he showed seven yellow cards in total, four to Blues.

Saturday’s fourth official is Aaron Farmer, the linesman whose advice led to referee Alan Young controversially disallowing Town’s goal in the home game against Wycombe last year.

The Colchester-based official was also the referee for the U23s’ pre-season friendly at Coggeshall in July 2019 when he refused to officiate for the final 30 minutes of a game of three thirds as the teams were planning to rotate their players using roll-on, roll-off subs.

More recently, Farmer red-carded Blues youngster Zak Brown for something he said in this summer’s pre-season friendly at Coggeshall.

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

Photo: TWTD

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itfchorry added 16:20 - Oct 30
The Rutland based Whistler !!

BobbyPetta11 added 20:57 - Oct 30
I’m not sure about anyone else but PL reminds me of our Paul Jewell era, great CV 10 years ago but now sadly past his best. I can see him being a full time sky sports pundit within 5 season. Make or break season.

BettyBlue added 07:23 - Oct 31
Lambert set for Elgin city.

WeWereZombies added 09:18 - Oct 31
Kettle, whistler...we can see that Phil has not gone off the boil yet...

airliner added 11:08 - Oct 31
COYB and Paul good job so far, some people expect miracles on a limited budget and lots of young players being brought through into the 1st team. I would rather trust your judgement.

Dolphinblue added 14:15 - Oct 31
Bobbypetta11......utter rubbish.....Coyb big win!

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