Ipswich Town changes could be on the cards at Hull City
THE BLUES have only lost once in their last seven games but assistant manager Chris Hutchings admitted changes could be on the cards for the trip to the KC Stadium.
A consistent run of form has resulted in a pretty consistent team sheet with the likes of Daryl Murphy, Lee Martin, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and the back four permanent fixtures for the past month or so.
But as another component of Town’s recent rise, Luke Hyam, found, the Blues’ management are not averse to tweaking with their team selection should they feel the need to freshen things up.
Hyam is one of three midfielders out of the team at the moment, alongside Lee Bowyer and recent signing fgrom Hearts, Ryan Stevenson, while the likes of Ibrahima Sonko, Josh Carson and Jason Scotland are also waiting in the wings.
It may seem folly to change an in-form team but Jewell and Hutchings may also have one eye on next season, especially if they alter the formation too.
This is something Hutchings revealed was in their thoughts, despite the Blues having found a successful formula with a now tried and tested 4-2-3-1 set-up.
“The team has been playing well and it is difficult to change a winning team but with a large period of games in a short space of time (Town have eight games in March), changing the formation and personnel is something that is in our minds,” said Hutchings.
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“We have players who can come in and do a job for us and that is why we decided to give Luke a rest.
“We felt we needed a little bit more energy at the time and Luke had played a lot of games in a short space of time for a young lad.
“Aaron Cresswell has had a lot of games, Tommy Smith has done well and Josh Carson and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas are in their first season. Whether or not we decide to tweak it remains to be seen.”
A success story of recent weeks has been Martin who has this week been nominated for the Championship’s Player of the Month award.
That all seems a far cry from earlier on in the season when the forward was left out in the cold after his silly sending-off in the 7-1 defeat at Perterborough.
The former Manchester United youngster is therefore testament to what can be achieved when players take their chance.
“We have got Ryan Stevenson who has not played a lot since he signed,” said Hutchings.
“His wife has recently had a baby in Scotland but they are living down here now and after a taster off the bench, he is hungry to play.
“Lee Bowyer was out injured but is back in the reckoning now and these lads have got to be ready to take their chances when they arrive.”
Whoever starts for the Blues will be facing a team on form.
Nick Barmby’s Hull have the league’s best defence and have conceded just once in their previous eight Championship games.
However, scoring has been their Achilles heel, with just 32 goals in 33 games and that has hindered their play-off push in recent weeks – the Tigers being two points off the top six having drawn five of their last dozen games.
“They are defending well and that is why they are where they are and we are where we are,,” said Hutchings.
“Collectively they are playing well but a few draws have probably held them back recently.
“But they have got a threat in attack with Matty Fryatt and if you have a goalscorer in your side, you only usually need one chance to score.
“But we are a threat going forward and have been scoriing a lot of goals recently so we have got to take our chances.”
“Games are won in both boxes.”