A fan’s view: Ipswich Town v Barnsley
Ipswich v Barnsley: Ipswich Town fan and football writer Will Ridgard previews tonight’s important fixture against Barnsley at Portman Road.
This might look like an easy three points for Mick’s men, but Town shouldn’t underestimate an improving Barnsley side who will look to cause an upset in front of the Sky Sport cameras.
On the day that marks Mick’s first year anniversary at the club, Town could potentially climb as high as eighth in the Championship come 10pm this evening.
And although all the statistics might suggest that Town go into the game as heavy favourites, I see this game as a potentially tricky one.
After a dreadful start to the season, Barnsley have put a little run of momentum together recently with valuable points gained against Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, and Reading.
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Town will have to be particularly wary of seven-goal striker Chris O’Grady and fellow frontman Marcus Pedersen, who as a full Norwegian international seems to be somewhat of a coup loan signing for the Tykes.
Winger Patrick McCourt is a player who should be kept an eye on too and is someone I thought Mick might have gone for in the summer having been a free agent. His fantastic solo goal in the win against Middlesbrough proved his threat.
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Ipswich have been brilliant at home since Mick’s appointment and there is no denying that they should come through this test against 23rd-place Barnsley, who have lost all of their six league games on the road so far.
What concerns me the most though is scoring goals. Or rather scoring goals through different players. Looking through the squad and results so far, I only see Town as having one person who can score goals. Step forward, David McGoldrick.
In truth, we do seem a little reliant on the former Nottingham Forest man. He seems the only source and if you look through our squad you do end up asking yourself – who else is going to score?
Although Mick’s settled midfield quartet of Cole Skuse, Luke Hyam, Paul Anderson and Ryan Tunnicliffe have all played reasonably well this season, there is no denying that there is a lack of a goal threat there.
In my opinion, it is essential for these players to start contributing and take the pressure off McGoldrick’s shoulders.
Of the aforementioned midfielders, only Anderson has chipped in with goals (two) this season. Thank goodness then for our goalscoring back four, who have netted a combined six times in the league!
With that in mind, and Town, without a win in their last four, I think we could see Paul Taylor play a big part tonight especially if the Tractor Boys haven’t found a way through Barnsley’s defence early in the second half.
Taylor was recalled a couple of days early from his loan move at Peterborough so I think he will be in Mick’s plans.
Although he didn’t set the world alight on his return to his former club, Taylor has games under his belt now and certainly offers something a little different going forward to other individuals we possess.
Although proven successful over the past year, Mick’s tactics and substitutions have been a little easy for opposition to read and prepare for of late and I think Taylor can add some spontaneity to proceedings.
Ipswich Town 2 - 0 Barnsley. Although Town may have to be patient, I think they will eventually break through a stubborn Tykes outfit.
McGoldrick told me in person that he’s scored in the last two games he’s been on Sky and I think he will make it third time lucky here with Tommy Smith or Christophe Berra joining him on the scoresheet.