Carling Cup has not delivered for Town

IPSWICH TOWN: Outdoing every other Football League club and getting to the last eight of the Carling Cup has been a labour of love for the Blues.

The club, which is bankrolled by owner Marcus Evans to pay it’s day to day costs and like all Championship sides pays more out on player wages than it receives through the turnstiles, will make virtually zilch from their run in the competition if beaten by Premier League West Brom at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

Ipswich are likely to make as much money out of their third round FA Cup game at Chelsea next month as they will from five games in this competition, with any extra income welcome with manager Roy Keane needing funds to strengthen his squad in January.

Playing in front of meagre Carling Cup crowds at Exeter, Crewe and then Millwall before a home match that attracted under13,000 against Northampton has done little to bolster revenue at Portman Road.

And tonight’s attendance figure is expected to be around the same figure with a general apathy among Town followers over the club’s current plight having lost their last four league matches and failed to entertain now for some considerable time.

To make it even more frustrating for the Blues, who would have loved to have cashed in on their cup success, there is no prize money on offer from the Football League until the semi-final stage.

And then it is only �25,000 for the losers with the final winners receiving �100,000 and the runners-up �50,000.

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A live television game for Ipswich would have added to their coffers, but Town have not featured on the box with tonight’s match just being shown in a highlights package.

Clubs participating in the two quarter-finals being shown live this week receive �175,000 – the same rounds three and four as well – while a live two-legged semi-final will bring in �200,000 TV dosh - �250,000 for the final.

This is the first time for 10 years that the Blues have reached this stage when they beat Joe Royle’s Manchester City 2-1 at Maine Road after the original game had been abandoned by referee Graham Poll because the pitch became waterlogged.

George Burley’s Town team went on to lose on aggregate to Birmingham City in the 2000/01 semi-final.

Ipswich have Damien Delaney suspended, Jack Colback, Jake Livermore, Gianni Zuiverloon and Rory Fallon cup tied and Gareth McAuley, Connor Wickham, Luke Hyam and Mark Kennedy injured.

Tom Eastman is fit enough to be considered and Town boss Roy Keane has confirmed that Luca Civelli will be in the squad having been an unused substitute at Norwich City on Sunday.

Youngsters Jaime Peters, Ronan Murray, Troy Brown, Andros Townsend and Reggie Lambe are set to feature in the squad.

Tonight’s like squads

Ipswich Town: Murphy, Eastman, Peters, Brown, Smith, O’Dea, O’Connor, Edwards, Leadbitter, Norris, Healy, Townsend, Civelli, Scotland, Priskin, Murray, Fulop, Lee-Barrett, Lambe.

West Brom: Carson, Myhill, Jara, Reid, Meite, Tamas, Pablo, Cech, Shorey, Mattock, Scharner, Barnes, Tchoyi, Brunt, Morrison, Dorrans, Thomas, Odemwingie, Cox, Fortune.

Referee: Mr M Jones (Cheshire)

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