BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Chopra set to be partnered as Saints come to town
PAUL Jewell is set to turn to his favoured 4-4-2 formation as Ipswich Town look to become the first team to take points off Championship new boys Southampton.
Just three days after the 1-0 defeat by Hull City, home fans return to Portman Road looking for more creativity and attacking threat for the visit of the Saints (7.45pm ko).
Jewell strongly hinted yesterday that he would provide Michael Chopra with a strike partner – although the identity remains open to speculation.
Nathan Ellington, who has started on the bench in both league games this season, is one favourite along with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who could be given the free role he craves.
But Jewell might spring a surprise and bring either Jason Scotland or Tamas Priskin in from the cold.
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The Town boss said: “I think possibly we might have to look at changing the formation.
“We have to be careful not to put too much onus on Michael Chopra. I think we have got the best striker in the division, certainly one of the best strikers, and we can’t expect him to do it on his own.”
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Of course changing formations means something has to give in the centre of midfield and Mark Kennedy is likely to be the unfortunate one to miss out – especially after impressing in the opening two league games with his range of passing and experience.
With Grant Leadbitter, Lee Bowyer and Lee Martin likely to fill three of the midfield positions – the latter expected to overcome his tight hamstring – that leaves Jewell to decide on just one wide position.
One of Emmanuel-Thomas, Josh Carson or maybe even Kennedy should start on the left of midfield.
The back four will be the same as Saturday with Jewell impressed with Damien Delaney’s resilience and Delaney himself backing centre back partner Tommy Smith.
Whereas both Carlos Edwards and the impressive Aaron Cresswell, as well as David Stockdale behind them, have done little wrong in the opening throes of the Championship season.
A dream start for Nigel Adkins’ men should see little change from the Saints who have won both their opening two league games to position them proudly in second in the table.
It is possible they might look to pack the midfield, but those close to the club have suggested the manager will opt to play to their strengths rather than worry about the opposition.
Richard Chaplow is definitely missing after being sent off in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Barnsley while striker Lee Barnard could return to the bench after suffering an ankle injury.
Former Town players Kevin Davis and Dan Harding should start for the visitors, although the left-back will face a battle to keep his spot after Adkins splashed out �1.8 million for Danny Fox from Burnley.
Ipswich Town: Stockdale, Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell, Emmanuel-Thomas, Bowyer, Leadbitter, Martin, Chopra, Scotland, Lee-Barrett, Andrews, Ellington, Kennedy, Carson, Ainsley, Priskin, Drury, Healy.
Southampton: Davis, Richardson, Fonte, Seaborne, Harding, Do Prado, Cork, Hammond, Lallana, Lambert, Connolly,
Bialkowski, Fox, Martin, Schneiderlin, De Ridder, Barnard.