Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 18°C

Search
Kings of Anglia Issue 7 Magazine Offer With Jimmy Bullard and Tristan Nydam

Player watch: Ipswich need Smith at his consistent best in the coming weeks

PUBLISHED: 01:09 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 01:09 03 January 2018

A disappointed Tommy Smith at Fulham. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

A disappointed Tommy Smith at Fulham. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738

If Adam Webster’s Achilles injury ‘rumbles on’ as Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy fears it might, it figures Tommy Smith is going to be playing a central role for the Blues in the coming weeks.

Webster limped out of Saturday’s defeat by Derby and, with his manager believing the defender will return for the January 13 clash with Leeds at the earliest, it meant Smith was the man thrust into action at Craven Cottage.

The New Zealand international has not been without injury problems of his own this season, firstly suffering with a hamstring problem before suffering a calf injury while on World Cup duty, which had limited his season to just 180 minutes heading into the Fulham clash. Indeed, he only made six starts in the entirety of 2017.

His previous Ipswich appearance came at Cardiff, where his lack of match fitness showed at times, but he stood firm with the rest of the Ipswich backline during an early onslaught which saw the hosts pepper the Blues’ box.

MORE: Spence’s ‘moment of madness has cost us’, says McCarthy

His night started well, as he thumped a headed clearance out into midfield to deal well with a Fulham header into the box, but things became that bit more difficult as the night went on.

Smith and his fellow defenders were put to the test by a Fulham side who like to move the ball quickly and work off muscular striker Aboubakar Kamara.

Luke Chambers was the man to deal with Kamara one-on-one, with Smith left to pick up the pieces of the men working off the central striker.

Despite being caught flat-footed on occasions, Smith recovered well time and again, notably poking the ball off the feet of Floyd Ayite when the Fulham man was looking to latch onto a loose ball.

Then, the game changed. The sending off of Jordan Spence left the Blues fighting for their lives to keep the hosts at bay. That fight lasted 15 minutes before the floodgates opened, with Fulham’s four goals in just seven minutes killing the game.

It would be unfair to lay blame for any of the goals solely at Smith’s door, but the defender will have left Craven Cottage knowing he perhaps could have done more to keep the ball out of the net.

MORE: ‘It has affected the result and I feel terrible... all I can do is apologise’: Spence on Fulham red

He only managed half a block in the build-up to Fulham’s second, scored by Kamara, while Tom Cairney danced past both Smith and Luke Chambers to square to Ryan Sessegnon for Fulham’s third.

Smith, now 27-years-old, has been the model of consistency during much of his career at Portman Road, particularly during a 2014/15 campaign which saw the Blues reach the play-offs.

He will need to be again if Webster is out for any prolonged spell, while Spence’s three-match ban puts further pressure on a Town squad which couldn’t afford any further absences.

Janoi Donacien immediately felt a sense of togetherness following his arrival at Ipswich Town.

Andy Warren gives his Sunday verdict at the end of a week where Ipswich Town exited the Carabao Cup to Exeter and drew 1-1 with Aston Villa.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce believes his side played better against a full strength Ipswich side than they did after the Blues were reduced to 10 men.

I drove 400 miles from Cornwall for Saturday’s game - and I was delighted I made the effort. The performance, and the atmosphere, perfectly summed up the excitement of the new era at Portman Road, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.

Watch match highlights of Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Portman Road on Saturday.

Andy Warren gives his thoughts on the Blues 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst saluted his ‘warrior’ players and the Portman Road crowd following his side’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Paul Hurst believes referee Tim Robinson was wrong to send Tayo Edun off on an afternoon where the Blues boss was less than impressed with the standard of officiating.

Ipswich Town’s 10-men held on to secure an impressive point in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Portman Road this afternoon.

Ipswich Town host Aston Villa this afternoon in the second home game of the new Championship season.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24