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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!

Bartosz Bialkowski and Ipswich Town still have ‘a couple of things to sort’ before the Polish goalkeeper signs his new contract with the club.

Mick McCarthy shouted ‘f*** off’ in the direction of – but, he insists, not at – Ipswich Town fans after his side took the lead at Norwich on Sunday. Today the Blues boss, who has faced plenty of toxic chants over the last 12 months, was quizzed on the incident ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Cardiff.

Mick McCarthy has no new injury worries for tomorrow night’s visit of Cardiff City but admits he could make changes to his side as he prepares for the second of three games in just seven days.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock is anticipating another eventful evening when he brings his side to Portman Road tomorrow night.

Ipswich Town welcome a Cardiff side sitting second in the Championship to Portman Road.

Winning games of football is the best way to heal a damaged relationship between touchline and terrace, former Blues boss George Burley insists.

Suffolk Women’s FA Cup quarter-final

Ipswich Town 7

Bungay Town 1

Ipswich Town Ladies continued their attempt to defend the Suffolk Women’s FA Cup for the fourth successive year with a comfortable 7-1 victory over a spirited Bungay Town Ladies’ at Skyliner Sports Centre in Bury St Edmunds, writes Kieren Standley.

A Suffolk girl who braved the North Sea for the hospice that cared for her great-grandmother has been named Ipswich Town FC’s “Community Champion”.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has apologised for any offence he caused while celebrating Luke Chambers’ goal at Norwich on Sunday, but has reiterated he did not aim his comments at the Blues fans.

Match highlights from Ipswich Town’s dramatic 1-1 draw with rivals Norwich in the East Anglian derby.

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