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Charlton Athletic 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 7th December 2021 Kick-off 19:45
McGreal in Interim Charge For First Time as Blues Travel to Charlton
Monday, 6th Dec 2021 19:46

Town travel to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday with interim manager John McGreal in charge for the first time.

The former centre-half, a member of George Burley’s side which won promotion to the Premier League at Wembley in 2000 and finished fifth in the top flight the following season to reach the UEFA Cup, was put in charge of the Blues this morning following Paul Cook’s sacking on Saturday.

McGreal worked with the squad for the first time today and says he didn’t try to change too much in a short space of time.

He says given recent events and results, and with a sell-out following travelling from Suffolk, the players might feel some tension going into the game.

“There’s going to be a huge following, they might feel a little bit under pressure but they’ve got to release the shackles and go and play,” McGreal told iFollow Ipswich.

“I haven’t reinvented the wheel or anything today. I probably haven’t been doing anything too much different to what I’ve been doing in the past with my experience.

“All I’ve tried to do is put on sessions today, get them running around, put a smile on their face, trying to break the shackles a little bit and [told them to] go and enjoy the game and give it a right go.

“That’s the least our fans will demand. Even when I was a player here, my own gaffer, George [Burley], that was the least he expected, you’ve got to work hard for the badge and that’s all we’re asking for.”

Given the small amount of time McGreal has spent working with the players, the Liverpudlian is unlikely to make too many changes to the side which faces the Addicks.

Christian Walton will be in goal with Janoi Donacien likely to continue at right-back ahead of Kane Vincent-Young, who played for McGreal at Colchester.

Bailey Clements is likely to be on the left while the Blues could again be without George Edmundson at the heart of the defence, the former Rangers man having picked up an achilles injury in training ahead of the Barrow match.

That’s likely to see Toto Nsiala partnered by Cameron Burgess, as was the case against the Bluebirds.

In midfield, McGreal will probably continue with Cook’s system with skipper Sam Morsy joined by either Lee Evans or Tom Carroll.

Sone Aluko will probably be on the right, assuming Wes Burns is not yet over his hamstring injury, with Conor Chaplin likely to be in the middle with Bersant Celina also having picked up a niggle at the end of last week.

Scott Fraser may well again start on the left with Macauley Bonne, who was a young player at Colchester during McGreal’s time at the JobServe Community Stadium, the lone striker.

Young midfielder Cameron Humphreys could be in the squad which travels having been left out of the U23s on Monday afternoon, after making an impact from the bench against Barrow and almost heading a late winner.

Charlton caretaker-manager Johnnie Jackson, who took charge in late October after Nigel Adkins's sacking, admits that Cook’s sacking at Town has impacted upon his preparations.

“It’s thrown a bit of a spanner in the works on the prep side for us,” he told the South London Press.

“Do we prep for Cooky’s Ipswich or do we prep for something new? You’re not going to know what they are going to do. That makes it a little bit more difficult.

“But we know their players and their threats. We’ll do our homework, as we always do. We have to concentrate on ourselves.”

Regarding Cook’s exit, Jackson, who has won seven, drawn two and lost two of his 11 games, added: “I don’t like to see it. Obviously as a young manager, you want to see people given time. It can take time to get your ideas across.

“I was surprised. I know they would expect to be higher in the league but they aren’t bottom of the league. Cooky is a good manager and coach.

“I’d have expected him to be given a little more time and he probably would’ve got a tune out of them because they have got good players.

“I’d have expected him to eventually get them going and start kicking on towards the top end of the league.

“They have got one of the bigger budgets in the league and I guess that is one of the reasons behind his departure. But it’s still disappointing to see. You want to see managers given a chance to turn it around.”

Strikers Bonne and Joe Pigott are both former Charlton players and Jackson says the Blues 11-goal top scorer, who has gone five games without finding the net, will be out to impress.

“He has done well,” Jackson said. “He scores goals. We know that about him and we’re aware of his threats. He’s quick and has got good movement. He is one of the leading scorers in the league.

“Coming back to an old club, you’d probably think he has got a little point to prove. We’ll have to be on the lookout for him. If Pearcey [Jason Pearce] does play he’ll know all about him. It’s got the potential to be a good match-up.

“It will be good to see him. Macca is a nice lad who did well for us.”

Jackson says the Addicks were keen on Pigott in the summer when he opted not to stay with AFC Wimbledon.

“There was a bit of interest in Pigs but I don’t think it ever got close because Ipswich are blowing people out of the water in terms of what they can pay,” he added.

“Pigs is a good player. I played with him before he left Charlton. He has forged a career, improved and become a really good striker at the level who has scored a lot of goals.”

Charlton expect to have skipper Pearce back after a knee injury, but winger Corey Blackett-Taylor remains sidelined with a hamstring strain.

Right-back Adam Matthews is not yet ready to return from a calf problem, while Ryan Inniss, Sam Lavelle and Jake Forster-Caskey are also out.

Town just have the edge historically having won 23 games (19 in the league), Charlton 19 (16) and with 12 (11) ending in draws.

The Blues are unbeaten in five at the Valley - aside from the 6-1 pre-season defeat in July 2017 - having won four on the trot prior to last season’s fixture.

Charlton, who are 15th, four points and four places behind the Blues, have a League One home record of won three, drawn three and lost four.

They have won their last three at home in all competitions, one in the league, one in the FA Cup and one in the Papa John's Trophy.

In April, Town drew 0-0 with Charlton at the Valley to extend their goalless streak to 439 minutes.

The Blues were the better side in the first half with James Norwood and Keanan Bennetts both going close early on, while the Addicks were on top in the second as the sides played out Town’s fourth 0-0 draw in six matches.

In November at Portman Road, a goal in either half from Albie Morgan and Omar Bogle saw Charlton to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Town.

Morgan put his side ahead with a low shot on 21 in an evenly-balanced first half, while sub Bogle scored with his first touch in the 68th minute to seal the three points for the visitors with the Blues never looking like staging a comeback.

Town striker Bonne was with Charlton during their 2019/20 Championship campaign, scoring 12 goals in 32 starts and eight sub appearances before moving on to QPR the following summer.

Pigott began his career with the Addicks and made four starts and 12 sub appearances without scoring having made his debut in August 2013 before moving on in the summer of 2016 following a number of loan spells.

Addicks keeper Stephen Henderson made 24 starts for the Blues on loan at Town under Mick McCarthy’s management during 2013/14. The Irishman has so far made only two FA Cup start for the South Londoners having joined them in September.

Charlton midfielder Harry Arter made a couple of appearances for the Town reserves in 2009 while on trial at Portman Road having recently been released by the Addicks without making a senior appearance.

The former Republic of Ireland international returned to the Valley on loan from Nottingham Forest in the summer after 12 years away.

Another midfielder Forster-Caskey is the stepson of former Blues striker Nicky Forster.

Tuesday’s referee is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire, who has shown 69 yellow cards and one red in 21 games so far this season.

Sarginson’s last Town match was the 4-1 win at Blackpool in October last year in which he booked Andre Dozzell and Myles Kenlock.

He was also in charge of February 2020’s 2-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road, in which he cautioned Flynn Downes and three home players. Town felt they were denied a very strong claim for a penalty when Freddie Sears was fouled in the first half

Sarginson also refereed the 2-1 home defeat to Coventry in an FA Cup replay at Portman Road in December 2019 in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.

Prior to that he was in charge of the 1-0 win at Gillingham in September 2019 in which he booked James Wilson and Alan Judge as well as one home player.

His only Blues fixture before that was the 2-0 home victory over Brighton in September 2014 in which he booked Cole Skuse, Jonny Parr, Paul Anderson and three of the visitors.

Squad from: Walton, Hladky, Donacien, Vincent-Young, Clements, Penney, Edmundson, Nsiala, Burgess, Woolfenden, Morsy, Evans, Harper, El Mizouni, Carroll, Fraser, Humphreys, Chaplin, Celina, Edwards, Bonne, Pigott, Jackson.

Photo: Action Images

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Texastom added 20:34 - Dec 6
Legend, I rate him, said we should have got him on board before. He took charge of Colchester for four seasons, with the club twice finishing one place outside the League Two play-offs and losing in the play-off semi-finals at the end of the 2019–20 season.

BossMan added 20:49 - Dec 6
Good luck John. You'll have the best away support in the league cheering you for 90 mins

dirtydingusmagee added 22:20 - Dec 6
Good Luck John ,get a win in a game thats televised ,and you will certainly have raised our spirits ,just hope the team put in a good 90 min performance for you [ and not get beaten in added time ] COYB

dirtydingusmagee added 22:23 - Dec 6
SORRY THAT MATCH NOT ON TV i was thinking about the Cup replay , lol

Robert_Garrett added 00:10 - Dec 7
Been too predictable for the opposition to play against so lets surprise them with something less obvious and score SIX?

shakytown added 00:59 - Dec 7
2 up front please!!!!!!

Karlosfandangal added 01:58 - Dec 7
Would like to see a 4-2-2-2 with Pigott up front with Bonne Fraser and Alamo on the wings and Mosey and Evans in the middle.

If we go with the 1 up front Charlton will be expecting it.

Just go for it and get Charlton to change their formation.

Whoever the manager is I hope Town are still in touching distance when they are appointed.

KernewekBlue added 07:40 - Dec 7
Best of luck John... we could all do with a bit of luck and a decent win would certainly raise the spirits in the dressing room and on the terraces too!

I'd like to see us go after The Addicks from the get go, get our wingers up the line, our striker(s) constantly in and around their box and feed the ball in to them at every given opportunity.

I'm predicting a win!


IpswichT62OldBoy added 09:11 - Dec 7
Go for it, nothing to loose.
Interesting that the Charlton manager feels this has disrupted his preparations, as Cooks set up was totally predictable

Linkboy13 added 09:27 - Dec 7
We must play a system that the players are happy with. Apart from a couple of games we haven't really looked a solid compact unit. I don't think dispite what people say recruitment has been perfect. The squad is overloaded with good individual lightweight players. This was exposed alarmingly against Rotherham. As Bobby Robson once said we need to get the chemistry right.

blues1 added 09:44 - Dec 7
Karlosfandangel. My god. Ringnick plays 4222, a formation prettyvmuch unknown, and wins one game and you now think we should play that way. Good luck with that one. Be looking at a massive defeat if we did I think. Don't think we have the players for that formation.

blues1 added 09:54 - Dec 7
Linkboy13. Yer, ur spot on. The signings haven't all been perfect. And thats why cook shouldn't have been judged after just 1 transfer window. Not even the greatest managers get every signing right. He needed the chance to have another window at least, to address those areas that have proven to be an issue. I understand the reasoning behind him being sacked tho, and just hope they get the next appointment right. And for me, it doesn't have to be a big name, or eve sone1 I've even heard of. As long as he can come in and get us the success we all crave. The worry is tho, that a certain section of our fans will simply be wanting him out if he fails to win his 1st 5 or 6 games, and the atmosphere in the ground goes back to how it's been thecpast few home games. We have to get behind the new man, and the team. We cannot afford to become a club that sacks managers every few months, just because results not what we want. As Ashton says, while we want to go up this season, it's not a case that we absolutely have to. So let's just get behind them. And really be that 12th man they need

Karlosfandangal added 10:12 - Dec 7
Did not know Man U play that formation,
My opinion was based on the player who might be playing tonight, you are basically pushing the number 10 up front and it also gives you a 4-4-2 if need be.

Why not try something different it would confuse Charlton

stocktractor added 11:42 - Dec 7
change the system up , play 2 up front and go for it john..legend

reading the betting please not neil Harris

Bazza8564 added 11:47 - Dec 7
Edmundson is a big miss, and I hope Pigott gets a go ahead of Bonne if we are going to play the old formation, Pigott looks sharper to me I think Bonne is knackered after playing 3 months on his own. JP much better in the air too....
I hope there's a 532 option in the thinking too at some point, 442 is too flat and horrible but 532 with WB bombing on would work and allow two central players, so maybe Jackson will get a bench position. I still think Pigott and Bonne is an either or because of their similarity and KJ has a bit more pace.

Linkboy13 added 11:49 - Dec 7
The loss of Edmundson is a huge blow. The thought of Nsiala and Burgess at the back frightens me to death both turn like double decker buses. Has anyone noticed the slight resemblance Mcgreal has to Pep Guardiola .

dirtydingusmagee added 11:54 - Dec 7
Ipswicht62 , yes the oppo have always been able to prepare, the Barrow manager said even before the game ''we know their system, how they play '' . Cook had tunnel vision when it came to tactics, everyone was aware of what they were going to face , .

DaGremloid added 12:00 - Dec 7
blues 1 - you're like a broken bloody record. Do you not get the fact that some of us thought Cook was the wrong appointment from day one? It's hard to get behind someone who is clearly a poor fit and he proved this by the way he disrespected the squad he took over and then sent us plummeting down the table. It has nothing to do with 'giving someone time.'

IpswichT62OldBoy added 12:26 - Dec 7
I was a supporter of Cook but we had reached a point where we just seemed to be treading water in terns of performance and it looked increasingly unlikely that that was going to change.
We looked much better with 2 up front against Barrow, I am interested to see how J. McG sets up tonight, and whether he makes changes if things are not working out.

TimmyH added 12:43 - Dec 7
I know McGreal will probably only be an interim manager but wouldn't it be good if we could get a 'honeymoon' period for once! McCarthy stabilized things after the disastrous Jewell management, Hurst diddly squat, Lambert diddly squat and Cook diddly squat!
A good run of games now would probably push us near the play-offs but will it happen? recent history tells us something different.

LimerickTractorBoy added 13:09 - Dec 7
Ah blues1 no one is looking for a new manager to win his 1st 5/6 games straight.
Paul Cook simply wasn't doing it for Town, he was all at sea, 1 dimensional and every manager in League 1/2 had him figured out.
He simply had to go and it wasn't a few subscribers on TWTD that made the decision.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 13:12 - Dec 7
Interesting that Adkins says he now doesn't know how we are going to line up and this makes things more difficult for him. He was quite sure about it while Cook was still in charge. Some flexibility in the system seems to work, evidently! Like many others, I did feel that our system was too predictable and too rigid when it wasn't working. Whether we can radically change that remains to be seen.

ringwoodblue added 14:13 - Dec 7
If we believe what has been communicated this has been sprung on McGreal and the poor guy has only had one days training with the team so let’s not expect too much tonight. However I do want a visible reaction from the team and evidence they are giving 110%. COYB!

dirtydingusmagee added 14:52 - Dec 7
Blues1 obviously thinks he is Towns number one supporter, he is always right and anyone who dosnt agree should go and support another team, he is just as deluded and one dimensional as Cook, ,

norfolkbluey added 15:36 - Dec 7

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