|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Burton Albion|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 15th December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Back to Basics for Blues Against Bottom Club Burton
Tuesday, 15th Dec 2020 06:00
Town host bottom-of-the-table Burton Albion at Portman Road tonight aiming to return to winning ways with manager Paul Lambert looking for his players to get the basics right following Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Portsmouth which saw them drop to sixth.
Lambert was particularly critical of his side for the way they performed without the ball against Pompey.
“You can’t play a game of football without doing the other side first," he said.
“Once you do the other side first, everything else follows suit and if you don’t do that, ultimately you lose.”
Asked whether he wants a back to basics approach from his team, who will again be watched by 2,000 season ticket holders this evening, he said: “A million per cent, do the basics of the game. If you do the basics of the game right you’ve got a bigger chance of winning the game.
“But you have to start right. You have to get to work on one side, doing all the other things, then the ability and other things come through. [On Saturday] we never did that and we deserved to lose.”
The Blues have now lost six of their last nine games in all competitions including their last three at home without scoring.
“You have to win games, whether it’s ugly or whatever,” Lambert continued. “But you cannot play without the ball, you have to go and be more aggressive than that without the ball. It is, it’s back to basics.”
Goals have been far and few between lately with the two in the 2-1 win over 10-man Plymouth 10 days ago all the Blues have scored in their last five matches.
Lambert may want to make changes to his team given Saturday’s result and performance but remains limited in his options due to the injury situation, although on Friday he suggested Freddie Sears could be ready to return from his hamstring injury in tome for tonight.
Dai Cornell will probably continue in goal with skipper Luke Chambers at right-back and Stephen Ward on the left.
Lambert could look at a change at the centre of the defence with the Blues having conceded seven goals in their last three home games. Toto Nsiala could come in for Mark McGuinness alongside Luke Woolfenden.
In midfield, Andre Dozzell will continue but Jon Nolan seems set to miss out having picked up an injury on Saturday. Brett McGavin replaced him from the bench, while Emyr Huws will also hope to come back into the XI.
Alan Judge started in the more advanced midfield role against Pompey before swapping with Armando Dobra. Lambert may well start with the Irishman in that role this evening with the Albanian U21 international on the right.
Sears could return on the left for Jack Lankester if the former West Ham man is considered fit enough with Keanan Bennetts another alternative.
The Blues boss may opt to make a switch at the centre of his attack having said Kayden Jackson has to be protected given his stop-start season due to injury and illness.
Aaron Drinan recovered from his hamstring problem and came off the bench in the second half at the weekend and could start with Jackson and Oli Hawkins among the subs.
Despite being bottom, Burton go into tonight’s match on a run of four games without a defeat.
A 4-2 home victory over Charlton - which ended a run of 14 games without a win - has been followed by 1-1 draws at Sunderland, with Crewe at the Pirelli Stadium and away against the MK Dons.
Burton have conceded 31 League One goals this season - only Swindon have shipped more, 33 - and they are yet to keep a clean sheet having let in at least one goal in every second half this campaign, a total of 21.
The Brewers’ away form, no wins, five draws and four defeats, is the third worst in the division.
Striker Kane Hemmings could return for the visitors after a quad injury and Albion have an otherwise fully fit squad.
Town and Burton have only met six times in competitive matches, all in the league in recent seasons, with Town unbeaten having won five and drawn one.
The most recent game between the sides was at Portman Road in February when Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson netted two goals apiece as the Blues came from behind to win 4-1.
Jamie Murphy gave the Brewers the lead in the sixth minute but Judge levelled for Town on 29, then Jackson put the Blues in front just before the break.
The former Accrington man made it 3-1 seven minutes after the restart, then Judge added the fourth on 63.
On the opening day of last season at the Pirelli Stadium, Luke Garbutt's deflected debut goal saw the Blues to a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion in their first third tier game for 62 years.
Loanee Garbutt found the net in the 11th minute to see the Blues to the three points against the Brewers, who were reduced to 10 men late on when Stephen Quinn was red-carded for two bookable offences.
No member of the current Town squad has played for Burton, but former Town striker Luke Varney rejoined them in August as player/fitness coach and has so far made three sub appearances.
Varney, 38, was with the Blues between February 2015 to January 2017, initially on loan, and made 14 starts and 32 sub appearances, scoring five goals.
During his previous spell with the Brewers Varney, known as Reg while at Town, netted an own goal in the Blues’ 2-1 Championship win at the Pirelli Stadium in April 2017. Burton midfielder Stephen Quinn is the brother of ex-Blue Alan.
Tonight’s referee is Darren Bond from Lancashire, who has shown 40 yellow cards and one red in 12 games so far this season.
Bond’s last Town game was the 1-1 draw at Bristol City in March 2019 in which he cautioned Dozzell, Gwion Edwards, Idris El Mizouni and one home player.
Before that he was in charge of the 2-2 draw at Reading in November 2018 in which he yellow-carded Chambers, Jordan Spence and one Royal.
Two months prior to that he refereed the 1-1 home draw with Brentford in which he booked Knudsen and two Bees.
He was also the man in the middle for the 4-2 home victory over Nottingham Forest in December 2017 in which he cautioned Callum Connolly, Martyn Waghorn and two visiting players.
Bond also officiated in the 2-1 defeat at Birmingham in December 2016 in which he yellow-carded Chambers and Christophe Berra.
He took control of the 2-2 home draw with Rotherham a couple of months earlier in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout and was also the man in the middle for the 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough in April of the same year in which he cautioned Luke Hyam and former Blues skipper Grant Leadbitter.
Bond officiated in the 1-0 win at Huddersfield three months earlier in which he yellow-carded Chambers, Brett Pitman and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as well as one home player.
He also refereed the dramatic last-gasp 1-0 victory at Charlton in November 2014 in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.
Two months before that he took control of the 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday when he booked only two home players, while his only other match involving the Blues was the 2-2 draw at Barnsley in February of the same year in which he again showed no cards.
Squad from: Cornell, Holy, Chambers (c), Donacien, Ward, Kenlock, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Dozzell, McGavin, Judge, Lankester, Bennetts, Dobra, Sears, Hawkins, Jackson, Drinan.
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