The FA Cup can give key trio a chance to rediscover their ‘edge’ - talking points ahead of Ipswich’s game with Coventry
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town take on Coventry City in the FA Cup on Sunday. Andy Warren looks at the talking points heading into the game.
Here we go again
It's the FA Cup and, now the near decade-long wait for a victory is finally off of Ipswich Town's back, a cup run is finally on the agenda.
Round two brings a trip to Coventry, well, Birmingham, for a game against a fellow League One high-flyer and it will also surely bring changes to the starting line-up.
It's been a common theme for Paul Lambert's side this season, with four or five changes to the team a regular occurrence between games, with that policy being the subject of much debate in recent weeks.
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He made 10 changes for the first game in the competition against Lincoln and, while he may not make quite as many this time around, expect a switched-up side come 1pm on Sunday.
Lambert says he doesn't have a first choice XI and trusts every player in his squad, while insisting the need to ensure each and every player is up to speed in case they're called upon for League One duty.
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You can see the logic here, but it doesn't necessarily always inspire confidence of cup progression.
The poster boy for this approach is surely Janoi Donacien, who has had to rely on cup football for minutes all season but is now required on a regular basis due to Kane Vincent-Young's three-month lay-off.
His involvement in the two games with Lincoln and the EFL Trophy loss at Colchester meant he was up to speed for league games with Blackpool and Wycombe, which has been something of a silver lining following news of Vincent-Young's injury.
The likes of Myles Kenlock, Toto Nsiala and Will Keane are in similar situations to Donacien at present and it's these players who are likely to be at the forefront of Lambert's mind for this FA Cup game and the EFL Trophy visit to Peterborough on Wednesday.
There are some obvious candidates for minutes here.
Logic says Lambert will give goalkeepers Tomas Holy and Will Norris a game each in the two cup contests in the next few days, while previously-mentioned defenders Nsiala and Kenlock are also likely to be involved given league football has been sparse for the pair. James Wilson could also get a start given he was on the bench for the Blackpool game.
In midfield, Flynn Downes could return after missing the Wycombe game through illness while wingers Gwion Edwards, Danny Rowe and Anthony Georgiou have all been in-and-out of the side.
Andre Dozzell has performed well in the FA Cup this season and then and is looking more like the player we know he can be while, up front, there's Will Keane who still needs to find sharpness after a long injury lay-off.
Jordan Roberts, Ipswich's leading scorer in cup football this season with three EFL Trophy goals, is back from a toe injury and could also be considered.
Armando Dobra should be back in contention following international duty with Albania's Under 19s while Brett McGavin, who looked calm and composed in both the FA Cup replay at Lincoln and at Colchester, could also be involved once again.
Idris El Mizouni is another who will almost certainly get a start in one of the two games over the next few days.
Beyond those three, the likes of Tyreece Simpson, Tommy Hughes and Liam Gibbs will all be keen for further first-team minutes. The Trophy game at Peterborough is the most-likely source of those for that trio.
Striker Ben Folami is also likely to be in the mix.
The man ready for lift-off
When Alan Judge fired Ipswich into the next round of the FA Cup with a 94th-minute winner at Lincoln, it felt like his Ipswich career might be finally ready for lift off.
He'd waited a long time for a goal and, now it had arrived, the feeling was it could be the first of many for a player we all thought would be central to Lambert's plan.
But since then he's played just the final five minutes of the draw with Blackpool and went unused on Tuesday against Wycombe despite Ipswich clearly needing a spark in the middle of the field.
If he's going to find a level of consistency then he surely needs games.
Hopefully these two contests offer him a real opportunity to show what he can do.
A duo in need of a spark
James Norwood and Kayden Jackson started the season like trains.
Both men have scored seven goals but neither hit the back of the net during the month of November. That's six Ipswich games without a goal from their two strikers.
Granted, Jackson played just three of those games and started just two, but the rotation policy coupled with Norwood's nagging injury problems has seen them get out of their early-season rhythm.
Best way to get it back? Games.
Norwood is suspended for the Coventry league fixture next weekend after picking up his fifth yellow of the season on Tuesday night (cards are now competition specific) so, if he follows his pattern and isn't involved in either of these games, he'll go another fortnight without competitive action.
Cup games this season have been used to get those on the fringes up to speed but maybe, just maybe, they now need to be utilised to help frontline players like Jackson, Norwood and Judge rediscover their edge for League One action.