FIXTURES: Ipswich Town prepare to meet old boys – potentially starting with Jordan Rhodes
IPSWICH Town fans might be rejoicing in their first opening day home match for four seasons.
But once the dust settles on the visit of troubled Blackburn, not to mention trips to bogey side Watford and a daunting visit to Blackpool, all eyes will turn to September 1, Portman Road, and the potential return of Jordan Rhodes.
We look at the key dates when Town go head-to-head with their old boys, headed by the early visit of Championship new boys Huddersfield.
JORDAN RHODES/ALAN LEE/NICK COLGAN – Huddersfield
September 1 (Portman Road) & February 23 (Galpharm Stadium)
AS it stands, this is arguably the biggest date in Town fans’ calendar. The return of the wonder kid, scandalously let go too soon by Roy Keane who has since proven himself one of the hottest properties outside the Premier League – albeit in League One with the Terriers. Following their play-off promotion success, Rhodes finally has a chance to prove himself in the Championship after just 10 substitute appearances and one goal with Ipswich. There is, of course, a big chance he might skip straight over the second tier with a string of Premier League clubs looking to make a bid. Fulham are said to be leading the hunt, but Huddersfield claim they don’t have to sell their prize asset. Fellow ex-Town players Alan Lee and Nick Colgan are also part of Simon Grayson’s squad.
GRANT LEADBITTER – Middlesbrough
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- 5 Driver caught speeding at 94mph in 50 zone on A140 in mid Suffolk
- 6 Four taken to hospital after crash involving ambulance on A146
- 7 Hunt for convicted murderer released on temporary licence in Ipswich
- 8 'A top team for League One' - Forest Green boss praises Town
- 9 See inside £715k mid Suffolk townhouse for sale after major revamp
- 10 Sir Cliff Richard sends best wishes to Summer Holiday cast
September 15 (Riverside) & February 2 (Portman Road)
IT might come in the chilly month of February but expect former Ipswich skipper Grant Leadbitter to get a hot reception when he returns to Suffolk. Not best loved even when leading the team, the midfielder could well turn out to be an astute signing for another former Blue, Tony Mowbray. Leadbitter’s big-money move but subsequent disappointing two-and-a-half years at Portman Road meant very few tears were shed when he finally decided to up sticks following protracted contract discussions.
DANNY HAYNES – Charlton
September 22 (Portman Road) & December 26 (Valley)
THE proclaimed ‘Canary Crusher’, following his amazing scoring record for Ipswich against Norwich, will be treated to a warm reception when he comes back to his former club. After a difficult few seasons at Bristol City and Barnsley following his move from Town, Haynes will be hoping to kick-start his career with a Charlton side on the up. He showed promise of better things at the Valley towards the end of their league-winning campaign. Elsewhere in the Addicks’ dressing room, Haverhill boy Michael Morrison will be a big part of their defence while former Bury Town keeper – and massive Ipswich fan – Nick Pope, 20, will be hoping to break into the first team.
OWEN GARVAN/DAVID WRIGHT/LEWIS PRICE/DARREN AMBROSE/JOEL WARD – Crystal Palace
November 6 (Selhurst Park) & April 16 (Portman Road)
DOUGIE Freedman’s Crystal Palace could be something of a dark horse if his young guns come to fruition in next season’s Championship. If they do, Ipswich fans will be left to wonder ‘what if’ with Messrs Garvan, Wright, Price and Ambrose remaining a big part of the Eagles. To add to the intrigue, Palace new boy Joel Ward should also line up against the side he dallied over signing with on three separate occasions before choosing South London. That might just make him public enemy number one come November 6.
LIAM TROTTER – Millwall
December 8 (Portman Road) & April 1 (The New Den)
TROTTER should fall into Haynes’ category and indeed that of the ex-Town Palace quartet and get a good homecoming from the Ipswich faithful. As with Rhodes, the midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Town fans might hope he moves away from the Lions’ den before the December 8 showdown.