Chance for Ipswich Town to go on the attack against wounded Tigers

Hull City's Sebastian Larsson reacts after missing a penalty at Derby. Photo: PA

Hull City's Sebastian Larsson reacts after missing a penalty at Derby. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town return to Championship action with a game at Hull City tomorrow. STUART WATSON previews the match.

Start of a tough run

Two points off the play-offs with a game-in-hand on most. It’s not overly simplistic to say Town’s season has been a tale of beating the strugglers and coming up short against the leading lights.

Blues boss Mick McCarthy has admitted that the next four games will give a very good indication of just where he team is at.

A trip to newly-relegated Hull is followed by the visit of Sheffield Wednesday, next Wednesday night, then tough looking away trips to Aston Villa and Derby.

A decent points haul would lead to belief this Blues squad has the spirit, depth and quality to stick around at the top. A difficult spell would add to a feeling that mid-table mediocrity beckons.

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Tigers not roaring

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Hull have struggled to adapt to life back in the Championship.

Hull City manager Leonid Slutsky. Photo: PA

Hull City manager Leonid Slutsky. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Russian boss Leonid Slutsky had to build a whole new team over the summer, with only David Meyler and Michael Dawson the only regulars left from 2016/17.

There have been big home wins against Burton (4-1), Bolton (4-0) and Birmingham (6-1), as well as a 1-0 victory at Barnsley, but four draws and eight defeats leaves them hovering above the relegation zone.

There were three straight defeats prior to the recent international break – 3-2 at home to Nottingham Forest, 3-1 at home to Middlesbrough and 4-1 at Sheffield United, with a damaging late capitulation in the latter.

Slutsky has said he would accept the board’s decision if he was sacked.

Hull fans continue to direct their ire at the club’s Egyptian family ownership. Some supporters threw balls on the pitch during the defeat to Forest after a protest march before kick-off.

Vice-chairman Ehab Allam has reiterated that they are keen to sell, but until they do, they are asking for an “amnesty” from fans.

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Expect goals

Only leaders Wolves have scored more Championships goals than Hull (28) and Ipswich (26) so far.

Both teams are among the division’s leakiest defences though – Hull (30) and Ipswich (22).

Altogether, there have been 35 goals scored in just eight games at The KC Stadium – that’s four every 90 minutes.

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Town team news

Town are still short in central midfield. Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop returned to action in the Under-23s recently but are still not ready for first team action, while Tom Adeyemi (hamstring) isn’t due back until December.

Cole Skuse has recovered from the hefty knock that forced him off in the 3-0 home win against Preston. He could be partnered by one of Callum Connolly, Kevin Bru, Tristan Nydam or Flynn Downes.

McCarthy may well choose to unleash his fab front four of Joe Garner, David McGoldrick, Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina again – the quartet having notched 25 goals between them in all competitions.

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Hull striker Fraizer Campbell will serve a one-game ban, while the Tigers are sweating on the fitness of fellow front man Nouha Dicko after he withdrew from the Mali squad ahead of the international break.

Key midfielder Jackson Irvine has been away with the Australia squad for a two-legged World Cup play-off against Honduras and only rejoined his club-mates this morning.

Jon-Miquel Toral (hamstring), Moses Odubajo (knee), Stephen Kingsley (groin), Ryan Mason (fractured skull) and Will Keane (knee) all remain sidelined.

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