Ipswich Town must take advantage of ‘fear factor’ at The Reebok Stadium

Tommy Smith reacts to Ipswich's last-gasp defeat at QPR

Tommy Smith reacts to Ipswich's last-gasp defeat at QPR

Bolton v Ipswich: Now is the time to break the away duck.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy may have a ‘no such thing as a bad away point’ mantra, but there is no escaping the fact that Saturday’s game at Bolton Wanderers provides a golden opportunity for the Blues.

The Suffolk side have put in some good performances on their travels but are yet to taste victory on the road this season, suffering narrow defeats at the newly-relegated trio of Reading, QPR and Wigan and drawing against Birmingham, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday after leading in all three of those games.

Saturday’s hosts, Bolton, are a point above the drop zone and without a home win this season. Manager Dougie Freedman has called upon his players to ‘get over the fear factor’ of playing at The Reebok Stadium after seeing his side score just five times in front of their own fans – their record reading four draws and two defeats. Last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to table-topping Burnley has left Ipswich an equidistant seven points between the top six and the relegation zone, with the next three games – Bolton (a), Barnsley (h) and Blackpool (a) a potentially defining moment in the campaign.

“We’re due an away win,” said Blues centre-back Tommy Smith.

“If we keep putting in the performances we have been, I’m sure it’s not too far away. If you look at most of our games we haven’t picked up points in, it’s generally only been the odd goal that’s made the difference in matches that could easily have gone either way.

“It’s fine margins in the Championship and we could easily be the ones up where Burnley are. I’m sure we’ll get our rewards if we keep playing as we have been.”

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Growing speculation that the Republic of Ireland are set to make an approach for McCarthy has dominated the build-up to the game, but the Blues boss watched the Under-21s in action at Portman Road on Monday night and will hold his pre-match press conference today.

A club insider yesterday told the EADT ‘there’s been no approach for Mick’.