Chops can fire against Villa – that’s the message from DJ Campbell and Daryl Murphy
Aston Villa v Ipswich: They are out to prove a point to Mick McCarthy.
Scott Loach hasn’t played for the Blues in three months while last season’s top scorer Michael Chopra has started just twice in Town’s last 20 games.
Now both are expected to be handed a golden chance to prove to McCarthy he can build a new-look side around them, regardless of what he does in the January transfer window.
With DJ Campbell back at parent club QPR, and doubts remaining where the 31-year-old’s future lies, Chopra should lead the line for Ipswich in Saturday’s FA Cup third round match at struggling Aston Villa.
At the other end, Loach is also expected to get a rare start after West Ham refused to allow loanee keeper Stephen Henderson to play for Town and make himself cup-tied.
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With McCarthy going public on his concerns over the 24-hour recall clause attached to Henderson’s deal, Loach will have an ideal chance to lay down a marker as Town’s number one.
The Blues boss yesterday said he was hoping for a busy January bringing in reinforcements but Loach and Chopra will be hoping to impress with a strong performance at Villa Park.
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Campbell’s departure, following a sparkling three-month loan spell, is the biggest blow after the QPR man scored more than a third of Town’s league goals this season.
In his place, Daryl Murphy has netted just five times with Chopra and Aaron Cresswell next up on three and a misfiring midfield adding little in the way of goal threat.
But Murphy believes the frustration felt by Chopra, sitting on the bench watching Campbell take the plaudits, might be the inspiration for him heaping more misery on Villa boss, and former Norwich manager, Paul Lambert.
The Republic of Ireland international said: “I think we can cope without DJ – you have to have players who can step up and we are confident we have them.
“Obviously, we have had DJ and he has scored all the goals. Chops hasn’t had as many chances, as we have been playing so well and the gaffer has played with the same team. But we know Chops can do that because he has done it at every club he has been at.”