Make or Break as Town welcome Fleetwood to Portman Road
Town welcome Fleetwood to Portman Road on Tuesday knowing that really only three points will keep any dreams of an automatic return to the Championship alive. After Saturday’s defeat at Blackpool, Town slipped five points behind Oxford who occupy the final play-off spot.
If Town are to overcome high-flying Fleetwood, they will need to do something they have not done all season. Beat a team (when played) who sit in the top eight of the league. Paul Lambert has stated that the next two games, against Fleetwood and Coventry, really has to return six points, if not, it will be hard to see the former Norwich City and Colchester manager in the Town dugout come August.
As for our opponents, Fleetwood are currently a team in-form. They were due to play at Tranmere Rovers last Saturday, but unsurprisingly the pitch at Prenton Park was deemed unplayable meaning the Cod Army had the weekend off. Joey Barton’s men, who drew 1-1 at Sunderland last time out, have claimed the scalps of promotion rivals Portsmouth, Peterborough and Wycombe in their three previous games prior to the trip to the Stadium of Light last Tuesday.
Tomas Holy will continue in goal behind probably the back four of Luke Garbutt, Josh Earl, Luke Chambers and Luke Woolfenden. Town boss Paul Lambert was unhappy with the way his team conceded both goals at Bloomfield Road and may recall James Wilson if he reverts back to a three man defence.
Another option would be to include Gwion Edwards, who was an unused sub at Bloomfield Road. The Welshman could come back in at right wing-back with Woolfenden reverting to his more familiar central role in a 3-5-2.
Assuming Lambert sticks with the 4-3-3 system, Cole Skuse and Emyr Huws are likely to be joined by either one of Jon Nolan or Alan Judge. If Lambert is looking to go for the win from the off, Alan Judge appears more likely to return in an advanced midfield role rather than the ‘safer’ option in Jon Nolan. Flynn Downes begins the first of his two game suspension after picking up his tenth league booking of the season at Blackpool.
In the wide areas, Teddy Bishop is likely to be back amongst the substitutes with either Armando Dobra or Gwion Edwards ready to deputise. Dobra impressed after coming on just after the hour mark on Saturday, Lambert may opt to start with more experience and hope Dobra can make a similar impact from the bench again.
Freddie Sears, if fit, will continue on the left hand side of the attack. After making his first start of the season at Blackpool, Freddie also opened his account for the season when equalising with a fine finish. Will Keane will continue as the lone striker with both Kayden Jackson and James Norwood unavailable.
Games Played: 1 Ipswich Wins: 1 Draws: 0 Fleetwood Wins: 0
Last game: Fleetwood 0 v 1 Town, Saturday 5th October 2019
Man in the Middle
Referee: Neil Hair
Games this season: 25
Yellow Cards (Red): 77(3)
Last Town game: Ipswich 1 v 1 Sunderland, August 2019
* Hair will be assisted by Aaron Farmer who was the linesman who assisted the referee in disallowing Luke Chambers’ header against Wycombe Wanderers.