Beattie calls on Blues defence to go back to basics

HE is arguably the greatest defender Ipswich Town has ever seen.

Now Kevin Beattie has sounded strong words of advice to Town’s under-pressure defenders – let’s get back to basics.

The Ipswich legend was as horrified as anyone inside Portman Road on Tuesday night when goal after goal was shipped in against Southampton in the woeful 5-2 home defeat.

But he has backed the likes of Damien Delaney to come good again as manager Paul Jewell has little scope for change with just three fit central defenders to pick from.

Beattie said: “They were all over the place against Southampton. It is just not working. I did actually feel sorry for the middle two (Delaney and Tommy Smith). They were too far apart when they need to be close together. They need to work as a partnership.”

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After the defeat at the hands of the Saints, Jewell will be seriously considering changes against Peterborough tonight – despite his limited options at the back.

As the only right-footed player from the three obvious central options, Jack Ainsley could come in for either Smith or Delaney with neither of the centre backs covering themselves in glory against the dangerous Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana in midweek.

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But regardless of the pairing, Beattie is tipping the Town to come good once again, saying: “Damien is an experienced player, Tommy Smith has played in the World Cup and Jack Ainsley won’t let anyone down. It is all about confidence and going back to basics.”

And Beattie believes Ainsley should be given the nod alongside one of either Delaney or Smith to restore a natural balance to the defence.

But regardless of personnel, Beattie believes the Blues defence were guilty of elementary mistakes in the humiliating 5-2 defeat by Southampton on Tuesday night.

He explained: “The two central defenders were too far apart when they need to be close together.

“They need to work as a partnership like me and Allan Hunter used to do.

“Everything starts at the back. One has to attack the ball with the other covering around. They need to talk to the full backs to make sure if one goes, one stays, so there is always three defenders back and that no one is left too isolated.

“It is all about confidence, making sure you make your first tackle to let the centre forward know you are ready for the battle. If you have to put the ball in the stands, that is what you do.”

And Beattie has singled out Delaney for extras words of advice, saying: “With his international experience and the fact he has played a lot of club games, he should be taking games by the scruff of the neck and take on the responsibility as the senior man.”

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