|Ipswich Town 0 v 3 Hull City|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 24th November 2020 Kick-off 19:00
Lambert: Different Game Against Hull
Tuesday, 24th Nov 2020 06:00
Town boss Paul Lambert is expecting tonight’s game against new League One leaders Hull City at Portman Road will be very different from Saturday’s 2-1 home victory over third-bottom Shrewsbury.
Having gained an early lead from the penalty spot, the Shrews spent much of the rest of the game camped in their own half frustrating the Blues before an Ethan Ebanks-Landell own goal and Jack Lankester’s 97th-minute header secured a 2-1 win for Town and maintained their 100 per cent home league record.
Hull, who went top via Saturday’s 3-1 win away against the MK Dons, have won their last five matches in all competitions and have picked up more points away from home than anyone else in the division - 15, five wins and two defeats - and can be expected to look to take the game to the Blues, certainly more than Saturday’s visitors.
Asked whether he was anticipating a match of a different variety against the Tigers, Lambert said: “Without a doubt. I think Hull have just come down from the Championship and will be one of the favourites to go back up.
“Grant [McCann]’s got a good team, they won on Saturday and went top, so we have to try and pin them back. It has the makings of a really, really good game.”
Following the Tigers’ visit, fifth-placed Charlton are in Suffolk and Lambert hopes positive results against the pair, which could take the Blues back to the top of the table, can act as a springboard after a spell in which Town have lost five of their last eight in all competitions.
“To me, we’re playing well,” he said. “We know how we play, we know all the moves, we know the patterns of play that we work on.
“They don’t always execute them the way they want to execute them but they know how to do it, and that’s the great thing.
“We have two hard games coming up, starting Tuesday. It’ll be a different type of game to Saturday.”
Town’s failure to beat the top teams over the last couple of seasons has been well documented.
Last season they defeated only Fleetwood and Gillingham of the 10 clubs who finished above them, both 1-0 in the away fixture, while this season the recent 1-0 victory over Accrington is their only win against a side currently in the top 10.
Lambert admits successes against Hull and/or Charlton would help to get over what appears to be a psychological block, although points out that the Blues were very unfortunate not to win at eighth-placed Sunderland earlier this month and similarly could cite poor refereeing for the FA Cup loss to Portsmouth, who are fourth, just over a fortnight ago.
“Yes, and you have to win the majority of home games as well,” he said. “I don’t think we deserved to lose at Sunderland, even Portsmouth here, the decisions went against us.
“But the way we’ve been playing, we’ve been dominating the games, we just need to finish all that good stuff off. If we do that then we’ll be a really, really good side.”
Lambert looks set to be forced into changes with Jon Nolan (groin) and Teddy Bishop (ankle) both suffering knocks on Saturday and not expected to be involved against the Tigers.
Andre Dozzell remains unavailable as he is serving the final game of his three-match ban, while Flynn Downes and Cole Skuse are still sidelined with knee injuries.
In addition, the Blues manager may also look at shuffling his pack a little with three games in eight days.
Tomas Holy will continue in goal with skipper Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward again set to be the full-backs.
At centre-half, Lambert could look to recall Luke Woolfenden for either Mark McGuinness, whose errors have led to a number of goals in recent weeks, or Toto Nsiala.
Lambert has limited options in midfield so seems likely to give Brett McGavin his third league start in the deeper role with Emyr Huws, making only his fourth league start of the season, and Jack Lankester both coming into the XI.
Another alternative is Alan Judge moving into the middle, which could see Lankester start wide on the right.
Freddie Sears is again likely to be on the left with Gwion Edwards out with a hamstring problem, although Keanan Bennetts is another candidate for a start in a wide role having made an impression off the bench on Saturday.
Lambert will probably switch his central striker with Saturday's starter Kayden Jackson only recently having returned from injury.
Oli Hawkins was expected to be fit enough to be involved against Hull having missed the Shrewsbury match, while James Norwood is another alternative, although the former Tranmere man only returned to training on Thursday having missed the best part of two weeks’ training having suffered a hamstring injury against Portsmouth.
Hull will also be looking to improve their record against the division’s better teams having so far defeated 10th-placed Plymouth, a 1-0 win in October, but no one any higher in the table, having lost to second-placed Peterborough 2-1 at home, and at Fleetwood, who are seventh, 4-1.
Tigers midfielder Greg Docherty is expected to be fit having missed the MK Dons game with a thigh problem, while winger Keane-Lewis Potter is available following two weeks of coronavirus self-isolation.
“It’ll be a tough game down there,” manager McCann told the Tigers official website.
“They’re a team near the top end of the table, like ourselves. They’ve got a good manager in Paul Lambert and they play a similar way to us.
“It’s a tough week for us – starting away to MK Dons, then travelling to Ipswich and then Stevenage in the cup on Sunday.
“It’s a big week and we started it quite well with three points. Let’s see if we can follow it up.”
Historically, Hull have the edge on the Blues having won 18 of the games between the teams (17 in the league), while Town have been victorious eight times (eight) and a further 11 (11) matches have been draws.
Town last beat the Tigers in May 2008 under Jim Magilton's management when sub Alan Lee, a future Hull City player, netted the only goal in a 1-0 win at Portman Road.
Since then the Blues have gone 13 games in all competitions without a win against tonight's opponents, 10 defeats and three draws.
The teams last met in the Championship in March 2019 when Kamil Grosicki netted a goal in each half as the Tigers defeated the Blues 2-0 at Portman Road.
Town saw plenty of possession throughout and had the ball cleared off the line twice in the first half but Hull were far more clinical with Polish international Grosicki taking opportunities in the 14th and 49th minutes and the visitors never looked in much trouble once they had established their two-goal lead.
In that season’s game at the KCOM Stadium in the previous September, Town continued their wait for their first win under Paul Hurst after goals at either end of the match saw Hull to a 2-0 victory.
Jarrod Bowen struck after three minutes, then sub Jackson Irvine sealed the three points a minute from time with the Blues dropping to bottom of the table.
Former Blues right-back Josh Emmanuel joined the Tigers in the summer having left Bolton Wanderers and has been a regular in their side this season.
Emmanuel, 23, came through the academy at Town and made 24 starts and five sub appearances for the Blues before being released in the summer of 2019.
At left-back ex-Blues loanee Callum Elder has been a regular for Hull this season. The 25-year-old Australian was with Town between January and May 2019 and made four starts and one sub appearance.
Town’s Wembley 2000 play-off man of the match Richard Naylor coaches the Tigers’ U23s at their academy.
Tonight’s referee is Lee Swabey from Devon, who has shown 25 yellow cards and no red in 11 games so far this season.
Swabey’s previous Town match was the 1-0 victory over Lincoln at Portman Road in February in which he booked Woolfenden, Huws, Downes and two Imps.
His only other Blues game was another 1-0 win, away against the MK Dons in September last year in which he again booked Downes and Huws and one home player.
Squad from: Holy, Cornell, Chambers (c), Donacien, Ward, Kenlock, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Nsiala, McGavin, Huws, Judge, Lankester, Bennetts, Sears, Hawkins, Jackson, Norwood.
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