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Runway leaders Felixstowe host in-form Villagers

PUBLISHED: 11:04 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 07 December 2017

Ethan Clarke, left, is back at Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

Ethan Clarke, left, is back at Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

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Felixstowe & Walton face a tricky test when they host a Long Melford side that have hit a good vein of form in recent weeks - the Villagers will arrive at the Goldstar Ground on the back of two straight wins and four from their last six games.

The Seasiders tasted defeat on Wednesday for the first time since September when they lost a penalty shoot-out at Walsham-le-Willows in the League Cup - the game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, with the Willows winning the shoot-out 4-3.

It’s strange how the fixtures fall, as Long Melford’s last win was against Walsham at Stoneylands last Saturday, so they will arrive at the Goldstar Ground full of confidence.

While the league remains the priority for joint managers O’Donnell and Watson, having a good run in cups is always a morale booster, and the league cup defeat is the third cup competition their side has slipped up in this season.

It still leaves the Suffolk Premier Cup but that involves a trip to Needham Market, where they will start as underdogs in Mid-February.

Fans favourite Ethan Clarke left many disappointed when he switched to newly promoted Stowmarket Town during the last close season, but they will be delighted to see him back in the Seasiders’ red & white stripes having re-joined the club at the start of the week.

Clarke played a cameo role in Wednesday’s defeat, coming on as a second half substitute, but should be available for selection for this game.

While Felixstowe have a healthy 19-point cushion over 2nd placed Coggeshall, they will be keen to maintain or increase that difference, and the Seedgrowers themselves have a tricky test, hosting a Fakenham Town side that have turned their fortunes around in recent weeks after looking relegation favourites for much of the season.

Both clubs have some difficult games coming up over the Christmas period, and both will look to take maximum points from this weekend’s games.

Three points against Melford would see the Seasiders reach 70 points with almost half a season left – which betters their season total from just two years ago!

No dramas as such with Town’s defeat at Middlesbrough, but there’s a degree of frustration that we have seen a couple of times in three weeks now, writes Karl Fuller.

From the counter kings at Derby, to the counter chumps at Middlesbrough. With five of the next seven games at home, Ipswich Town need to take their medicine and quickly refocus on maintaining the fun factor at Portman Road.

Play to your strengths. It’s a well-worn piece of wisdom which applies in most walks of life, and certainly includes sport, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes his team let Middlesbrough off the hook in this afternoon’s 2-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium.

Ipswich Town lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON analyses the action.

Two goals either side of half-time saw Ipswich Town slip to a 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough this afternoon.

Punters are tipping ailing Middlesbrough to start their recovery by beating Ipswich Town this afternoon at the Riverside Stadium (3pm).

In this week’s nostalgia, we travel back to the opening day of the 2010/11 campaign when the Blues secured an impressive victory at Middlesbrough

Ipswich Town take on Middlesbrough, in a Championship match, at the Riverside Stadium this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has a decision to make.

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