Big match preview: Cardiff City v Ipswich Town - Everything you need to know
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Ipswich Town take on Cardiff City, in South Wales, in a Championship clash this evening (7.45pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says many of the Championship’s big spenders would love to have his squad’s fighting spirit.
The Blues head to third-place Cardiff City tonight having recorded three comeback wins on their travels already this season – at Barnsley, Millwall and, most recently, Burton.
“We needed a result after three straight defeats,” said McCarthy, reflecting on Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 win at the wind-swept Pirelli Stadium.
“The Burton chairman came and told me ‘three lucky points’, but I don’t agree with that. For all their possession and pressure and crossing in the box, I had a team that kept it out of our net.
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“And when it turned around we played much better and had the pressure and the ball in their box and scored two good goals. That’s not luck. That’s a team that’s got good fighting spirit.”
When the chips are down, Town have often found a way to grind out a result under McCarthy’s management.
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“It’s vitally important that,” said the Blues boss. “It’s an ingredient that a lot of good teams who have spent a lot of money would pay a lot for. I really appreciate my lads have those qualities and respect it.
“We’re not going to be the best footballing team in the league, but if we continue to make sure we do all those things then who knows where it will take us.
“All I ever ask is that the players give me everything. If that changes then the manager is in trouble. That’s never happened in any job I’ve been in though and I don’t anticipate it will happen here.”
Seven wins and six defeats has Town 10th in the table with a game in hand on most. Pre-season promotional hopefuls Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Hull and Reading are below them in the standings.
“And they might end up finishing above us but, do you know what, at the minute they’re not,” said McCarthy. “We drew too many games last year and thankfully this year we are winning them. We don’t want to be losing them, but I’ll still take the wins.”
Asked if there was more to come from his side, with key summer signing Emyr Huws close to a return and others still getting up to speed after injuries, the Blues boss added: “I hope so. I think so.”
Team name: Cardiff City
Manager: Neil Warnock (Oct ‘16: P52 W24 D13 L15)
Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Position last season: 12th in Championship
Current position: 3rd
Last game: D 0-0 Millwall (h)
Home league record: P7 W4 D3 L0 F11 A3
Top-scorer: Mendez-Laing (5)
Most league starts: Etheridge, Morrison (14)
Ipswich Town team news
• Emyr Huws made his long-awaited comeback from an Achilles injury with 90 minutes for the Under-23s yesterday. He could be in the squad for Saturday’s visit of Preston.
• Bersant Celina, Kevin Bru and Grant Ward could all be considered for starts after positive contributions off the bench during Saturday’s 2-1 win at Burton.
• Centre-midfielders Tom Adeyemi, Teddy Bishop, Luke Hyam and Andre Dozzell remain sidelined.
Cardiff City team news
• Neil Warnock has been playing a 3-4-3 system, but could switch to a 4-2-3-1 in order to accommodate attacking midfielder Lee Tomlin in the search for some creative spark.
• Star striker Kenneth Zohore (ankle) and key midfielder Aron Gunnarsson (ankle) remain sidelined after missing the last two games.
• Left-back Joe Bennett faces a late fitness test after limping off in Saturday’s goalless home draw with Millwall (calf).
• He could be replaced by the fit-again Callum Paterson. The Scottish full-back was signed from Hearts in the summer with a knee injury.
• Lee Camp (thigh) and Jazz Richards (ankle) are long-term absentees.
Cardiff City 3 Ipswich Town 1
Date: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Town dropped to within five points of the relegation zone after this second half collapse. Luke Chambers headed Town in front (23), but impressive striker Kenneth Zohore netted twice (36 and 50) to turn the game on its head before Joe Bennett sealed the points (63).
20 – Games without a draw for Ipswich Town
391 – Minutes since Cardiff scored from open play
0 – Home league defeats for Cardiff (W4 D3)
3 – Home league goals conceded by Cardiff
Feb 11 – The last time Town kept an away clean sheet (W 1-0 at Aston Villa)
Key opposition man
Town were very keen on signing the striker from Rotherham in the summer, but the 26-year-old opted to be reunited with his former boss Neil Warnock. With Zohore injured he’s finally getting his chance.
Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
Games: 16, Yellows: 48, Reds: 2.
Cardiff City (11/17)
Ipswich Town (11/2)
Cardiff City 1 Ipswich Town 1
Expect a battle. Could be Town’s first draw of the season.