Burgess straight in, Edwards to unleash, but don't underestimate Cheltenham
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Ipswich Town take on Cheltenham Town in a League One clash at Whaddon Road tonight (7.45pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
BURGESS STRAIGHT IN
There have already been 13 debuts for new-look Ipswich Town over the opening three games of the new campaign. How many more will there be tonight?
At least one, that's for sure, because boss Paul Cook has confirmed that Cameron Burgess will go straight into the starting XI after completing his transfer from Accrington Stanley on Sunday.
The 6ft 4in centre-back won the most aerial duels in League One last season. He will add some physicality and left-footed balance to the heart of defence.
Town also signed former QPR, Swansea and Tottenham midfielder Tom Carroll yesterday. The 29-year-old was ruled out for the entirety of the second half of last season with a knee injury, but recently spent time on trial with Derby. He's part of the travelling party, but it's unlikely he'll dislodge either Lee Evans or Rekeem Harper straight away.
Whether centre-back George Edmundson, who was signed from Rangers with an unspecified injury, and left-back Hayden Coulson, who arrived on loan from Middlesbrough still recovering from Covid, are ready to make their Blues bows yet remains to be seen.
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We're less than a fortnight into the season, but already the injuries are starting to pile up.
Edmundson and Jon Nolan both went into the season with issues, Toto Nsiala and James Norwood have both limped off in games, while Cook revealed that Wes Burns, Conor Chaplin, Sone Aluko were all enforced absentees at the weekend.
Cook is reluctant to reveal what those injuries are or put a timeframe on their returns.
The big positive from Saturday's defeat at Burton was the electric debut display of Kyle Edwards off the bench.
Town beat Championship clubs to the signing of the 23-year-old former West Brom winger and they look to have a really exciting player on their hands.
He's direct, positive and skillful. There's every chance he starts wide left tonight.
THE BIG CALLS
Who plays at centre-back alongside Burgess? Luke Woolfenden has looked a little casual over the opening three games, while Janoi Donacien has been pretty solid, so the latter could get the nod if it's a choice between the two.
Mind you, Donacien may be required at right-back. Kane Vincent-Young hasn't been quite up to speed so far, having worked his way back from yet another injury, and it may be that he's dipped out for a second game in four days.
Joe Pigott will play up top - the question is who is alongside him. Chaplin and Louie Barry have each had a turn as the No.10 so far, but neither have really been able to get into the game.
Could it be that we finally see Scott Fraser in his favoured No.10 role? His playmaking attributes haven't been fully utilised on the left or right thus far.
Or might Cook go with a physical front two of Pigott and Macauley Bonne? We'll see.
Ben Tozer notched up an incredible seven assists with his dangerous long-throws last season as Cheltenham won the League Two title.
Whether the Robins' skipper will start tonight is unclear. He suffered from Covid in pre-season and has been an unused sub in their opening two league games.
Don't be fooled into thinking the newly-promoted Gloucestershire side are robust, long-ball merchants though. Michael Duff's men earned a reputation for playing some stylish football last season and were particularly strong at their Whaddon Road home.
They've started with a 1-1 draw at Crewe and a 3-1 loss at home to Wycombe. At 1-1, the hosts had chances before Oliver Pendlebury scored a quickfire double with shots from outside the box.
Duff felt his side were 'a bit passive' and 'safe' at the weekend and had too much 'bluff possession'. Let's see how they react tonight.
WAIT FOR A WIN
There have been loads of positives to take from Town's opening three displays. Sooner rather than later though they really need to start converting performances into points.
It's true that it's a marathon not a sprint. It's true that Blackpool started slowly last season after a complete summer rebuild and ultimately went onto gain promotion.
But it's also true that every failure to win adds just a little extra pressure on the games to come. And, with respect, there are better teams in this league than Morecambe, Burton and Cheltenham.
We've waited years for good things to happen at this football club, so a few more weeks' patience shouldn't be too much of an ask.
That said, a win tonight wouldn't go amiss.