Big Match Preview – Coventry City (H)
As it stands: Ipswich 18-10-6-2 (2nd, 36pts GD 15) | Coventry 19-7-10-2 (6th 31pts GD 3) Current form: Ipswich DWDDD | Coventry DLDDW
Last time out: Coventry 1 v 1 Ipswich
Head-to-head: P84|Ipswich W37| Coventry W22| D25
Previous meeting: Coventry 1 v 1 Ipswich, 7th December 2019, League One
Ipswich welcome Coventry in the final part of our gripping trilogy with the Sky Blues. Unlike games one and two, the FA Cup replay on Tuesday night will need to reach a conclusion, even if that means extra time and the dreaded spot kicks.
Town and Coventry drew 1-1 in both previous meetings over the last ten days at Coventry’s temporary home at St Andrews. Both games took a familiar pattern with Will Keane putting Paul Lambert’s side ahead, only for Coventry to recover and rescue the draw.
The winner of the tie will face a long trip west early in 2020 to either Plymouth or Bristol Rovers. The replay between the sides taking place at Home Park on Tuesday evening after their initial tie at the Memorial Stadium having ended 1-1.
Focus on Coventry
Last season: 8th in League One (65 points)
Manager: Mark Robins (March 2017)
Top scorer: Amadou Bakayoko, Matt Godden and Jordy Hiwula – 4
Most Assists: Jordan Shipley – 3
Tomas Holy could return in goal replacing the preferred Will Norris. Lambert has limited options at the back with the injuries to Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala, meaning Lambert could opt with a back four of Myles Kenlock, James Wilson, Luke Woolfenden and Gwion Edwards.
Alternatively, Barry Cotter could play at right back after his fine performance at Peterborough last week, with Lambert opting to rest Edwards ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bristol Rovers.
In midfield Emyr Huws will start if fit, presumably alongside one of Dozzell, Downes and Skuse. Lambert may decide to rest the trio and give youngster Brett McGavin a start alongside the Welshman.
In the wide areas, Armando Dobra and Jordan Roberts could well start for Town. Roberts was my pick for man of the match playing on the right hand side against Peterborough and will surely be pushing for a start against Coventry.
Idris El Mizouni could start as the advanced midfielder with a lone striker in operation. Alternatively Lambert could opt to play Kayden Jackson and James Norwood as a pair, resting Will Keane who has scored in both games against Coventry in the last ten days.
Coventry are set to name a relatively strong side at Portman Road with Mark Robins looking to progress in the cup.
Jamie Allen came on as a second half substitute and could start after a long injury layoff. Dominic Hyam limped off during the first half of Saturday’s league encounter and is all but certain to miss the clash at Portman Road.
That change also signalled the key formational reshuffle, with Coventry going from a back three to a more conventional back four, something I expect to see Robins deploy on Tuesday evening.
Town assistant manager Stuart Taylor is looking forward to finally having an outcome of tonight’s game, with both previous encounters ending in a draw.
“I would like to [have won] the last two games but wasn’t to be. I think what you will have seen from the two teams is that you’ll always get a great game of football.” Taylor said speaking to TWTD ahead of the clash.
“Both teams look to go and play in the right manner, they’re an honest bunch of players, both sides, and it’ll be a good game.
“Hopefully we’ll have the edge this time with the supporters behind us and hopefully we’ll go and win the game.”
Speaking ahead of the clash at Portman Road, Robins believes the game will be a tight affair, just as the previous two encounters: “Hopefully we can get a positive result. It’s another one to look forward to, I think they’re really tight games. There won’t be a great deal in it, there shouldn’t be a great deal in it but it’s the recovery time [which will be a factor].”
In the previous two games, Lambert has opted with a lone striker [Will Keane for both] with Robins expecting changes upfront for Town: “They’ve got a strong squad, see the back of the programme [for Saturday’s match], it’s very good,” he said.
“He can do whatever he wants to do. He’ll probably play two up front on Tuesday, maybe he’ll play Jackson and Norwood. Whether he goes 3-5-2 or whether he goes 4-4-2, which he likes to do, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Man in the Middle
Tuesday’s referee is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire, who has shown 45 yellow cards and no red in 17 games so far this season. His last Town match was the 1-0 victory at Gillingham earlier this season, a game which he booked Town pair James Wilson and Alan Judge.