Big Match Preview – Wycombe (H)
As it stands: Ipswich 16-10-4-2 (2nd, 34pts, GD 15) | Wycombe Wanderers 18-11-6-1 (1st, 39pts, GD 14) Current form: Ipswich DWWWL | Wycombe WLWWD
Last time out: Ipswich 2 v 2 Blackpool | Wycombe 1 v 0 Doncaster
Head-to-head: P0|Ipswich W0| Wycombe W0| D0
Previous meeting: N/A
Town welcome league leaders Wycombe Wanderers to Portman Road on Tuesday evening in a clash of the top two in League One. Wycombe have been the surprise package so far this season, currently sitting five points clear of Town at the top of the table.
Paul Lambert will be hoping to build on Saturday’s point against Blackpool when his former side visit under the lights at Portman Road. Wycombe, who have only lost once in the league this season, will come buoyed by a last gasp winner against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday which resulted in the gap growing to five points.
However, Town do have two games in hand on the Chairboys and with the match taking place in November, this is certainly not a winner takes all affair, but three points for either side will be a massive boost. Come 21:45 on Tuesday evening Town will not want the gap to be eight points, even if we have games in hand.
Last Time Out
2 – 2 draw with Blackpool
Paul Lambert brought back many of his rested players after successive three cup matches, but it was the players who didn’t return who made the headlines. James Norwood and Kane Vincent-Young, both recovering from groin surgery, where not involved, meaning a daunting afternoon laid ahead for Kayden Jackson as the lone striker. Janoi Donacien was a surprise inclusion at full-back, with Danny Rowe and Gwen Edwards preferred over Alan Judge and Anthony Georgiou.
1-0 against Doncaster Rovers
Gareth Ainsworth made six changes from the side that started in Wednesday’s FA Cup loss to Tranmere, with Akinfenwa on the bench for the visit of Doncaster. The talented Rolando Aarons was on the bench as he continues his comeback from injury. Wycombe are captained by former Blue schoolboy Matt Bloomfield. After a busy couple of weeks, Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth is expected to make changes ahead of the clash at Portman Road.
Focus on Wycombe
Last season: 17th in League One (53 points)
Manager: Gareth Ainsworth (September 2011)
Top scorer: Joe Jacobson (LB) – 7
Most Assists: Adebayo Akfinfenwa (ST) – 4
STAR PLAYER: Joe Jacobson (LB)
The left back, yes, left back, has scored seven goals so far this season, including a hat trick against Lincoln City. The former Wales U21 captain is somewhat of a dead ball specialist, with more than half of his goals coming from the spot or free-kicks. Town will need to be on their guard of Jacobson’s wand of a left foot.
Following Saturday’s draw with Blackpool, Town will be hoping striker James Norwood will be fit to play some part in Tuesday’s top of the league showdown.
Will Norris will continue in goal with Luke Garbutt continuing at left back alongside Luke Chambers and Luke Woolfenden. Kane Vincent-Young will return if fit, replacing the impressive Janoi Donacien at right back.
In midfield Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes will continue in midfield, with Alan Judge likely to be recalled with Gwion Edwards operating on the opposite flank.
If Lambert opts for a three man midfield, Jon Nolan could continue alongside Skuse and Downes, or Lambert could rotate with Andre Dozzell and Emyr Huws waiting in the wings.
Kayden Jackson will be upfront, hopefully joined by James Norwood. If Norwood is not fit, Will Keane could partner Jackson in a 4-4-2 system.
Wycombe have been involved in a lot of matches over the last fortnight, with Gareth Ainsworth admitting there are several ‘tired legs’ in the squad as he is set to shuffle his pack again at Portman Road.
Akinfenwa looks set to be recalled to the attack with on loan star Rolando Aarons pushing for a start after returning from injuries.
Town boss Paul Lambert has played down the importance of the game against Wycombe, labelling it as just another game: “Yeah, and it’s November. You get absolutely nothing in November. We are a right good side. We’ve lost a couple of games all season… Let’s see what happens” Lambert said to EADT ahead of the game.
When asked if he was surprised to see Wycombe performing so well, Lambert replied: “Do you know what, I don’t know. I’m only concentrating on us. They’ve had a great start and I’m pretty sure if you asked Gareth (Ainsworth) he’d be saying the same. Let’s see what happens. You get nothing in November.”
Ahead of the first ever competitive clash between the sides, Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth is exciting to be bringing his table topping side to Portman Road: “It’s amazing to be going to Portman Road for the first time ever with Wycombe Wanderers, sitting just above them at the top of the table. We’ve worked so hard this season and earned our rewards by picking up enough points to reach first place. There’s still such a long way to go this season, and we won’t lose our focus, but I’m so proud to be manager of this club and I know it means so much to everyone to see us in this position.” Ainsworth told the Official Website.
“But bringing anything back from Ipswich would be a great result for us, as they’re a strong side, and favourites for the league title – rightly so. In Paul Lambert they’ve got a very good manager who’s managed at the top level, and they’ve got an extremely strong squad who I know will be eager to get the win and stop us in our tracks.
Man in the Middle
Tuesday’s referee is Alan Young who is taking charge of this first Ipswich match. Young has shown 76 yellow cards and two red in 18 games so far this season.