|Ipswich Town 0 v 2 Rotherham United|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Blues Host Rotherham Looking to Bounce Back From Sunderland Defeat
Monday, 22nd Nov 2021 13:54
Town host second-placed, in-form Rotherham United at Portman Road on Tuesday looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Sunderland.
The loss to the Black Cats was the Blues’ first in six but their second league game without scoring, following the 0-0 home draw with Oxford, despite having had a number of chances to go in front prior to the Wearsiders’ two late goals.
The loss saw Town drop to 10th, seven points from the play-offs and 10 behind the Millers in the second automatic promotion spot.
Rotherham, who were relegated in May following one season in Championship, are undefeated in 14 in all competitions, winning 10 of those games. In the league they are unbeaten in 11, winning seven. The beat 3-1 at home on Saturday.
The Millers are the joint-second top scorers in League One on 32, behind only the Blues, who have netted 34 times. They have conceded the joint-fewest in the division, 13, alongside Wigan Athletic.
Speaking immediately after Saturday’s defeat at Sunderland, Town boss Paul Cook was still to come to terms with the loss and turn his mind to the visit by the Millers.
“Take your disappointment, it’s got to sink in, it’s what drives you on,” he said. “We feel sick tonight, we’ll let the disappointment sink in before we pick ourselves up for Rotherham. It’s another tough test.
“We’re hurting tonight because we want to climb the league quickly, we want to get up there and unfortunately today we’ve certainly played well enough to take something out of the game. We would have been disappointed with a draw and we’re leaving with nothing.
“We’ll just travel back now, we’ll just regroup. We’re just really disappointed, that’s all I can say.”
Cook may look at making one or two changes to his team, although it’s all but certain Christian Walton will continue in goal despite his error for Sunderland’s first goal.
Janoi Donacien will be at right-back with Bailey Clements likely to continue on the left unless Hayden Coulson is over the knock he suffered at Wycombe. George Edmundson, again outstanding at the Stadium of Light, and Toto Nsiala will be the centre-halves.
In midfield, Cook will probably continue with skipper Sam Morsy and Lee Evans in the centre.
Morsy will be looking to avoid a fifth league yellow card and therefore a one-match suspension. After the game against the Millers, Town’s 19th league game, a fifth booking will no longer lead to a ban.
Cook may make changes to the three behind 11-goal top scorer Macauley Bonne. Sone Aluko is likely to keep his place on the right with Wes Burns out with a hamstring injury, but Conor Chaplin could return as the number 10 and Scott Fraser may come under consideration on the left, although Kyle Edwards was a threat at Sunderland, particularly in the first half.
Tom Carroll, Tomas Holy, Luke Woolfenden and Louie Barry all started Monday’s U23s game with Millwall so are unlikely to be among the subs.
Rotherham are hopeful midfielder Ollie Rathbone will be back for the trip to Portman Road after missing Saturday’s 3-1 home win against Cambridge United due to illness having not trained during the week leading up to the match.
Defender Wes Harding faced the U’s despite having had a calf problem, while striker Will Grigg has been cleared to play having undergone a scan on his foot.
Angus MacDonald is a long-term absentee, but the Millers have no new injury concerns.
Michael Smith, joint-League One top scorer with 12 goals, will be back after a one-game ban.
Millers boss Paul Warne believes anyone who finishes above Town will be in one of the automatic play-off spots.
“My assessment of them is no different to everybody else's possibly. I've always liked Cooky [Paul Cook] and the way his teams play.
“He's virtually always 4-2-3-1. They've had a new team which took some time to gel and now I think they are. They're a team that create chances and keep the ball very well.
“It's a team that we want to go to and try to win though. We'll pick an aggressive team and when the whistle goes we'll try to win, but it will be a big ask and I still think if you finish above Ipswich you will take one of the automatic spots.”
Town have won 15 of the previous games between the sides, all of which have been in the league, eight have ended in draws, with the Millers having won 11, including the last two.
The Blues have won only one of the last seven between the teams since winning 5-2 in South Yorkshire in November 2015 when Daryl Murphy netted a hat-trick.
The teams last met at the New York Stadium in January 2020 when Rotherham skipper Richard Wood’s 42nd minute goal saw the Millers to a 1-0 victory and to the top of the table at the Blues’ expense.
Wood headed home as the South Yorkshiremen dominated against an under par Town, who almost grabbed a late undeserved equaliser when sub James Norwood hit the post.
In October 2019 at Portman Road, Rotherham inflicted Town’s second League One defeat of the season and their second in four days as Matt Crooks netted twice to secure the Millers a 2-0 victory.
The midfielder - a Blues target this summer before his move to Middlesbrough - struck first on 11, then added the second three minutes after the restart.
Millers winger Chiedozie Ogbene had a spell on trial with the Blues in January 2018 - along with his Limerick team-mate Barry Cotter - before joining Brentford.
Tuesday’s referee is Gavin Ward from Surrey, who has shown 55 yellow cards and two red in 14 games so far this season.
Ward’s most recent Town match was the 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood in March in which he booked Gwion Edwards and two home players.
Prior to that he was in charge of the 3-2 home victory over Leeds in the final Championship game prior to relegation in May 2019 in which he booked Nsiala, Jackson and one White, and showed Blues captain Luke Chambers a late straight red card for a foul for which he also awarded the visitors a penalty.
Ward was also the man in the middle for the 6-1 pre-season thrashing at Charlton ahead of the start of the 2017/18 campaign and refereed the 1-0 away victory over the MK Dons in December 2015 in which he yellow-carded Chambers, Jonathan Douglas and Freddie Sears.
A month earlier he had taken charge of the 2-2 draw at home to Wolves in which he again booked Chambers and two visiting players.
Ward also took control of the 3-1 home victory over Cardiff in April of the same year in which he booked Cole Skuse, Tyrone Mings and Christophe Berra and two visiting players. Prior to that he was in charge of the 2-0 defeat at Rotherham that February.
Squad from: Hladky, Walton, Donacien, Vincent-Young, Clements, Penney, Edmundson, Nsiala, Burgess, Morsy, Evans, Harper, El Mizouni, Fraser, Burns, Chaplin, Celina, Edwards, Bonne, Pigott, Jackson.
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