FAN PREVIEW AND POLL: Ipswich Town set for a point at Birmingham tonight

Mick McCarthy leads his team to Birmingham tonight

Mick McCarthy leads his team to Birmingham tonight - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich travel to Birmingham City tonight to try and pick up our first away points of the season, after Saturday’s disappointment at Reading. And if I’m being honest, I would be surprised if we came away with a victory.

With McGoldrick looking less than 100% we seemed to lack that cutting edge to break down Reading’s young defence on Saturday, instead after Didzy’s substitution having to rely on Daryl Murphy and debutant Conor Sammon, two very similar players.

We all should remember that McGoldrick is still recovering after six months on the sidelines, and we cannot expect to see our talisman firing in all cylinders after such a long lay-off.

It was outstanding to see that our number 10 hasn’t lost his eye for goal after netting against Fulham, but on Saturday it did look like he was missing that special something that terrorised defences last season.

On a few occasions, McGoldrick did get away from the Reading defence, and if he was in his prime of last year he may have sprinted away to equalise for Town. But instead his lack of match sharpness meant the Reading defence could get back to clear the danger.

Now I’m in no way slating McGoldrick, I’m just stating that without him on top of his game, we look a bit short in the attacking areas.

With McGoldrick already having 100 minutes under his belt this season, it may be that he has to start on the bench tonight. That could mean a front two of Murphy and Sammon, two big strong forwards, and some fans have questioned whether this partnership could work as the players styles are so alike.

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Instead Mick McCarthy could go for one up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Paul Anderson, Anthony Wordsworth and Jay Tabb playing ahead of Cole Skuse and Luke Hyam who would sit just ahead of the back four. That would then mean the choice of either Murphy, Sammon or Balint Bajner playing as a lone striker, most likely Murphy as he proved his worth in McGoldrick’s absence last season.

I would not be surprised if McCarthy’s tactics tonight would be to safely get through the first half, and then bring on substitutes in the second to spring the game to life and nick a winner.

Last season we absolutely battered Birmingham at St. Andrews, but yet again our lack of clinical finishing meant we didn’t stretch our lead to two, and as we all expected a jammy deflected goal came back to haunt us.

And tonight I fear the same could happen. When we get our chances tonight, we need to take them. If Murphy and Sammon are on the pitch we would be a big danger at set-pieces, with a possible eight players being taller than six foot.

Birmingham broke their 18 match win-less run at St. Andrews on Saturday, and that means they will be ready to fight for their first consecutive home wins in the league since October.

I’ll say 1-1.

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