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Ipswich Town 0 v 2 Portsmouth
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 12th December 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Blues Host Pompey Aiming to End Top Side Hoodoo as Fans Return
Friday, 11th Dec 2020 13:25

Town host Portsmouth in a third-v-fourth clash on Saturday again looking to beat another of League One's higher flyers for the first time this season but on this occasion with the backing of 2,000 fans.

Season ticket holders who have been successful in a ballot will cheering their side on as they look for a change of fortune against teams in the top half of the division.

Of the sides in the top 10, the Blues have so far defeated only Accrington Stanley, currently seventh, 2-0 at Portman Road in October, and were beaten by leaders Hull City, 3-0, and sixth-placed Charlton, 2-0, in their previous two home matches.

They have also been beaten away by second-placed Lincoln, 1-0, Doncaster, who are eighth, 4-1, and 10th-placed Sunderland, 2-1.

Last season Town similarly struggled against teams in the top half of the table, beating only Fleetwood and Gillingham, both 1-0 away, of the 10 sides who finished above them in the points-per-game settled table.

Asked whether it would be good for the Blues to get that particular monkey off their collective back, he said: “It would be and it would be even better if we had a massive strong squad that gives us that chance.

“But that’s where we are at the minute and, as I’ve said before, we’re competing really well, not playing great every week.

“Last Saturday I didn’t realise we had 67 per cent of the ball away from home, which is a really good stat.

“So we’re forcing the issue with teams, we’re trying to play good football, and we’re trying to win games.

“I’ve been really happy, I’ve been happy with Armando Dobra coming in, Jack Lankester, Keanan Bennetts has contributed – all young kids – Brett McGavin, really good and really pleased.

Lambert knows what to expect from Pompey with the teams having met at Portman Road in the FA Cup only just over a month ago with the visitors running out 3-2 extra-time victors in controversial circumstances.

The Blues boss says it’s no shock to see Kenny Jackett’s side towards the top of the division having finished fourth last season.

“I think they’ll be around about it again,” he said. “Last year in the play-offs, a strong physical side, a good side.

“Kenny’s done a good job wherever he’s really been and this will be another tough game, and we have to try our best with the guys we’ve got.

“But as long as we keep competing the way we are at the minute in what we’re doing, then we’ll definitely be competitive, that’s for sure. The last game, the cup game, was a really good game.”

Quizzed on whether last week's 2-1 comeback success at Plymouth, which ended a three-game winless run, has added to his squad's self-belief, Lambert said: “Do you know what, the confidence has never really been away in training and everything.

“Everybody knows the injury situation we’ve got, that isn’t going to change. Everybody knows we’ve got big influential players, experienced players, really good players the ones that are coming in, and that’s why I said thank God the younger ones have come in and helped.

“As I said before, if I never was brave enough to throw them in, then there wouldn’t be that chance.

“And that’s the great thing about it, the kids have been given a chance in the first team, and they know how we want to play, they know the work-rate we demand from them.

“So everything being positive has never really been an issue. The league position is good. Ideally, you’d want to be first, but due to the circumstances of what’s happened, there’s never been a problem.”

Lambert probably won’t stray too far from the side which won at Home Park last weekend, particularly with his options limited by injuries.

David Cornell is again likely to be in goal with skipper Luke Chambers at right-back and Stephen Ward on the left. At the centre of the defence, Luke Woolfenden will probably continue to be partnered by Mark McGuinness.

In midfield, Andre Dozzell seems certain to return for Brett McGavin, who is likely to drop to the bench, with Jon Nolan and Alan Judge ahead of him.

Up front, Kayden Jackson will again probably play down the middle having scored his first goal of the season against the Pilgrims with Jack Lankester on the right and Armando Dobra on the left.

Striker Oli Hawkins will be hoping for some involvement against his old side and may well be used from the bench in the second half if Lambert opts to move to 4-4-1-1 as he did prior to the turnaround at Plymouth last week.

Portsmouth, who beat fellow challengers Peterborough 2-0 at home last Saturday then won 3-0 away at Cheltenham in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday, host Fleetwood on Tuesday and then travel to Hull City next Saturday.

Reflecting on that run of tough fixtures manager Kenny Jackett told Hampshire Live: “It looks pivotal when you look at the standard of the opposition. They should be three really good games inside eight days.

“One, we'll look forward to it and two, we shouldn't be worried about anybody in terms of standard of opposition.

“Then overall you want to keep the pace with the sides in and around the top. That means winning on a consistent basis and you can't go too long without putting some wins together.

“When you're looking at the standard of the opposition in the short term and the nine points on offer, it's an exciting time and a big challenge. We're looking forward to it.”

Reflecting on whether last month’s FA Cup tie between the sides will have any impact on Saturday’s fixture, he added: “It was a very tight game and it went to extra time. Both sides, I thought, were good quality teams and both teams went for it on the day as well.

“So I think this will be a very good game and quite a tight one so we'll have to be at our very best to win it.”

Asked about the pressure his Town counterpart Lambert has come under from fans, he added: “It's not something I have necessarily studied and would have to look at and come back to you.

“Paul is somebody I know very well and he has been in management for a long time. In terms of the overall situation, I've looked at their games and their team selection but not the bigger picture quite so much.

“I always feel the top eight of League One is very good competition. They are either big clubs or clubs that are being funded very highly.

“To compete in and around that, you need to be in a good team and a good side. Both are in that bracket at the moment and trying to get into the Championship.

“Both sides are well-positioned in the league and will be looking to push on. We know we're going to be at our best to get the result we want.”

Pompey have a fully fit squad with winger Michael Jacobs available again after recovering from a knee injury he sustained in October.

Historically, the Blues have won 19 games between the two clubs (18 in the league, one in the League Cup), 12 have been draws (11 in the league) and Pompey have won 14 (10 in the league).

Pompey have an impressive away record in League One this season having won four, drawn two and lost once on their travels so far this season.

Town have won only one of their last six home games against Portsmouth, a 1-0 victory under Paul Jewell’s management in October 2011.

The teams last met in the FA Cup first round last month when Sean Raggett scored a controversial 111th minute winner for Portsmouth in a 3-2 after-extra-time victory over the Blues at Portman Road.

Pompey scored two goals in two minutes via Ronan Curtis and Tom Naylor in the 11th and 13th minutes before Nolan pulled a goal back for the Blues two minutes before half-time,

Then, after Town had been denied a clear penalty for a foul on Hawkins, sub James Norwood made it 2-2 on 66 before Raggett won it for the visitors in the second half of extra-time when he stabbed home from close range following a free-kick but having very evidently strayed offside.

Last season, Portsmouth beat the Blues 1-0 at Fratton Park with the Portman Road fixture not taking place due to the campaign being curtailed.

Curtis’s second-half goal was enough to see Pompey to their victory over 10-man Town.

The Irish international found the net from 20 yards five minutes after the break and the Blues were unable to find an equaliser before captain Chambers was red-carded for a second bookable offence with two minutes remaining.

Portsmouth striker Ellis Harrison left the Blues for Fratton Park in June 2019 after a year at Town, in which the former Bristol Rovers man scored once in nine starts and seven sub appearances, for a fee of £450,000.

Hawkins joined the Blues on a free transfer last summer having left Pompey after three years after scoring 18 goals in 71 starts and 25 sub appearances.

Saturday’s referee is Thomas Bramall from Sheffield, who has shown 29 yellow cards and two red in 14 games this season.

Bramall’s only previous Town match was the 2-0 opening day of the League One season victory over Wigan at Portman Road in which he booked Chambers and one Latic.

Squad from: Cornell, Holy, Chambers (c), Donacien, Ward, Kenlock, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Dozzell, McGavin, Nolan, Judge, Lankester, Bennetts, Dobra, Hawkins, Jackson, Drinan.

Photo: Matchday Images

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BettyBlue added 13:30 - Dec 11
No chance at all.

PortmanTerrorist added 14:01 - Dec 11
How do they have a "Fully Fit Squad".....what does that even look like ?!

Anyway, we can do this, enough negativity, happy to be back at FPR. COYB

johnwarksshorts added 14:22 - Dec 11
Keep up the positivity BettyBlue. COYB!

runningout added 14:28 - Dec 11
Don’t make a big deal of it and we may get somewhere. You know our expectations are too high hehe

BettyBlue added 14:50 - Dec 11
Since Bertie arrived, we haven't beaten a top six side.

So maybe don't big this game up when we haven't had any performances in the last 100+ games to back it up.

Nobbysnuts added 15:34 - Dec 11
Ipswich-0 Portsmouth-3

Saxonblue74 added 16:23 - Dec 11
Really hope we get 2000 decent fans and not 2000 Bettyblues! Need a 12th man.

TimmyH added 16:45 - Dec 11
A win and only a win to lift a bit of negativity as Paul likes it to be known...

Dolphinblue added 17:45 - Dec 11
Big game......crowd need to get behind the boys COYB

DifferentGravy added 17:51 - Dec 11
Tactical Flexibility
Men in the box. hopefully a goal or two

Stop being negative Lambert and give the fans something to be positive about!!! COYB

ringwoodblue added 19:16 - Dec 11
With fans at the ground, the team can’t afford to get off to a slow start and concede early like in recent games otherwise the negativity will start to emerge.

Think this is a real test as Pompey are a good team and having fans there will bring extra pressure to a team and manager already under a lot of pressure.

I’d love a win but would take a draw.

dirtydingusmagee added 19:17 - Dec 11
no more doo doo BEAT the hoodoo. Lets see if all the midweek talk can be matched with performance, coyb

chepstowblue added 19:25 - Dec 11
Like 'assists' and 'man of the match', possession means absolutely nothing, considering 95% of our 65% involves faffing around with the ball in our defensive third, before one of the back five decides to welly it out of play on the half way line. Once again in a supposed 'big game' I imagine we'll have no self belief and come out of it with a straight forward 2-0 defeat.
Jeff Stelling..." the last time we were at Portman Rd Portsmouth were leading 1-0 and looking very comfortable. Do Ipswich look like getting back into it Tony cottee" ?
Tony Cottee...." No not at all Jeff" !!
Please, for the first time in a season and a half...can we look as if we actually mean business?!

dirtydingusmagee added 19:30 - Dec 11
''everybody knows the injury situation we are in ,and that isnt going to change '' straight from the horses mouth , lol and he moans about negativity at the club . Never mind Paul you can always use that as an excuse ! .........oh you already do ., sorry.

blue86 added 19:33 - Dec 11
Its a big game, and we need to start beating sides around us. No excuses, we are at home let's be positive and get the win. 2 strikers from the off, DO IT sick of the talk.

runningout added 20:09 - Dec 11
this is NOT a Big game and neither are the next dozen.

blue86 added 21:02 - Dec 11
Runningout, ok so are you saying after the next dozen then these are big games? We are playing a top six side with some of our fans back in the ground for the first time this season. So would be great to win this against a top six side...... dont you think? Unless we just need to win the last few games of the season maybe? Are these the big games? Anyway heres hoping we beat a top six side in a BIG GAME in front of some of our fans.

DifferentGravy added 21:37 - Dec 11
LMAO off at the fact have been marked down for wanting the team to be positive and attack. Surely you cant win a game unless you score a goal. Clearly some Lambert-eers would prefer us to keep the ball in our own half, get the possession stats up and hope for the opposition to get a player sent off or an own goal. Got to feel sorry for them.

blue86 added 22:25 - Dec 11
DifferentGravy, spot on!

dirtydingusmagee added 23:14 - Dec 11
im done with negativity im going 5-0 , dont know if i'll see the results ,theyre coming to take me away HA HA .

BettyBlue added 23:19 - Dec 11
Will Bertie persist with giving the away team a gifted goal in the first 5 mins?

Mixed results with that tactic, but no-one tells Bertie what to do. Even when he was at a Big club.

BettyBlue added 23:21 - Dec 11
ITFC 1 Portsmouth 2 or 3 or 4

Vanisleblue2 added 00:04 - Dec 12
Pompey have a fully fit squad but we have 10 injuries because of the Pandemic shut down and our poor players having to play 3 games in a week etc. (nothing to do with our training)

BcarefulwhatUWish4 added 07:00 - Dec 12
Ipswich 3-0 Portsmouth

Northstandveteran added 07:49 - Dec 12
Exactly Chepstow.

Just like under McCarthy but with some pretty passing in our own third before the inevitable hoof 😂

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