The Ipswich Town fringe players with points to prove and chances to take as Blues bid to end FA Cup nightmare
PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 08 November 2019
Ipswich Town are in FA Cup action against Lincoln this weekend. ANDY WARREN looks ahead to the game.
Please, let it stop
Here we go again.
Ipswich Town will this weekend be attempting to win an FA Cup game, something we're all too aware they haven't managed for quite some time.
The Blues' recent record in the famous competition is abominable. There's been no victory at all since 2010, spanning 13 matches, and four exits at the hands of lower-league opposition during that time (Preston, Portsmouth, Lincoln and Accrington).
And it's one of those sides who visit again this weekend, with Lincoln City coming to Portman Road just as they did in January 2017.
Two Tom Lawrence equalisers were needed that day for Mick McCarthy's side to rescue a replay, but the reprieve was a false one as Ipswich were humbled by the then National League side, live on television in front of the nation.
The Blues sat 59 places above the Imps in the football pyramid that night at Sincil Bank. Now that gap is just 16, thanks to Lincoln's rise under Danny and Nicky Cowley and Ipswich's fall into the third tier.
That drop also means a first-round entry in the competition for the first time since the 1956/57 season.
On that occasion they beat Sussex County League Division Two side Hastings United 4-0 in front of 13,000 fans at Portman Road before ultimately exiting to Fulham in round three.
The old friend, or indeed foe, that is round three is a long way off at this point. Simply winning a game (and hopefully avoiding a replay) will do. MORE: Wilson keen to show Lincoln they were wrong to let him walk away
Ins and outs
Paul Lambert has already made it very clear he plans on making major changes for this game.
"Guys who weren't here will play," he said. "Guys who didn't have 90 minutes will play. We need everybody and, as I've said before, we can't play 46 games plus with the same guys. It's impossible. Whoever plays I trust to perform."
That will surely mean a rest for frontline players such as Lukes Chambers, Woolfenden and Garbutt, Cole Skuse, Kayden Jackson and James Norwood, while Flynn Downes could also sit this one out despite missing the Rochdale win through suspension.
It will almost certainly mean starts for the likes of James Wilson, Emyr Huws, Will Keane and Andre Dozzell, who were all on the bench on Tuesday night and have been in-and-out of the side.
It remains to be seen what Paul Lambert does with his goalkeeper. Does he bring Tomas Holy back in, given the Town boss has previously rotated for cup games? Or does he give Norris an extended run in the side?
Jordan Roberts has been dealing with a toe injury of late, keeping the three-goal EFL Trophy marksman out of action, but if fit you can pencil him in as a starter.
The game could also offer a chance for Armando Dobra to come back into the fold following his red card at Accrington, with his three-game ban now spent.
In from the cold
Those likely starters listed above have all been in-and-around the Ipswich side throughout the season, playing games but not always securing regular runs in the side.
But for three men this game represents a chance for them to come in from the cold and stake a claim.
Lambert's decision to deploy winger Gwion Edwards at right-back at Rochdale, rather than specialist Janoi Donacien, is a telling one. It certainly shows where the former Accrington man stands in the pecking order at Portman Road.
He's not played a league minute since the middle of August and has been restricted to cup action. He'll surely play this weekend but appears to have plenty of work to do if he is to force his way back into the league picture.
Myles Kenlock started the first seven league games of the season but hasn't featured since, with Lambert commenting that he was taking the homegrown youngster out of the firing line. Garbutt's made that spot his own, but Kenlock will get a chance this weekend.
Then there's Toto Nsiala. The popular central defender missed much of pre-season with a hamstring injury suffered in Germany but, after a succession of Under 23 outings and 90 minutes in the EFL Trophy against Gillingham, he was back in the league side at Accrington. Sadly, though, his 45-minute appearance at the Wham Stadium was a difficult one and he was replaced at the break.
All three are likely to get a chance this weekend and you feel they need to take it if they are to get close to a league side rolling on at the top of the table.
Surely Anthony Georgiou will finally get his long-awaited first Ipswich Town start this weekend?
The Cypriot international has had to make do with eight appearances from the bench so far during the campaign, at an average of just 25 minutes each.
They've largely been impressive cameos, too, most notably a display against AFC Wimbledon in August which turned the game in Ipswich's favour.
But still he's not been able to earn a start, while international duty with Cyprus has meant he's been unavailable for EFL Trophy games so far this season.
He's available this weekend, though, so it will be interesting to see what he can do.
Tickets for this game have been reduced to just £10, with large sections of Portman Road closed for the occasion.
Only the lower tiers of the stands behind the two goals and the lower and middle tiers of the West Stand are open, with more than 8,000 tickets sold at this stage. A crowd of around 10,000 is expected.
For context, a little over 12,000 watched Ipswich's last home FA Cup game, against Sheffield United in January 2018 while more than 16,000 took in the original staging of the Lincoln tie a year earlier. That attendance was significantly boosted by 5,000 Imps who sensed a cup shock.