Bristol bogeyman Chopra out to give James fresh nightmares
DAVID James might have 50-plus England caps.
But today he will go head-to-head against a man on a mission and opponents who caused him his biggest nightmares last season.
The Bristol City keeper lived up to his former ‘Calamity James’ nickname when his gaffes helped Town to a 2-0 victory at Portman Road 12 months ago.
Now when the sides meet again in the Championship curtain-raiser, he will face the Robins’ arch-nemesis – Michael Chopra.
The Town number ten has already scored five goals in eight games against City and he is ready to add to that impressive tally.
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Chopra said: “I’ve got a good thing about playing Bristol City, I always manage to score against them, and I’m looking forward to the game.”
And the striker, who could start as a lone frontman if Paul Jewell adopts a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation, will go into the first match of the season with the backing of a former top-scoring Blue.
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Chris Kiwomya, who was Town’s reserve team manager until May, said: “Ipswich have needed an out-and-out goalscorer for a number of years and now they have Michael Chopra.
“He is an excellent finisher who has proved himself at this level and it is a massive bonus having him in the team.
He can score 20 goals this season and that is something that has been lacking.”
On the day of the big Championship kick-off, Kiwomya, who was part of the last Ipswich team to win the second division 20 years ago, is tipping Town to go close again.
He said: “I think Ipswich have got a good experienced squad now with some really good players. It is a tough league but if you can keep in and around the play-off places, something which should be achievable for Ipswich, then anything can happen.”
Attempting to stop Chopra, James remains a confident figure and it will be interesting to see how he fares against his opposite number, David Stockdale, in what will be a glimpse of England’s past and future.
The Bristol City keeper said: “It is going to be a very competitive league. We have set ourselves targets that we think will be enough to get us into, at least, the play-offs. The aim is to qualify via straight promotion.”