It will be just like the San Siro for Town
IT will be just like the San Siro when Ipswich Town take on Arsenal in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at the Emirates on Tuesday.
Over 9,000 Town fans will make the trip to North London looking to cheer their heroes on to Wembley after securing a first leg 1-0 advantage.
And for one man in will be a highly emotional night.
Former club chairman David Sheepshanks was a proud man in Milan as he looked on as Ipswich supporters filed in to take up one end of the magnificent San Siro.
There were also 9,000 at that game and they witnessed a 4-1 Inter-Milan victory in the third round of the UEFA Cup on December 12 2001.
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Sheepshanks may have lost his power at Portman Road since the arrival of Marcus Evans three years ago, but he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm and love for the Blues and his appreciation of their fans.
He is still chairman of the ITFC plc company, but that carries virtually no weight and his lot with fans took a bashing when he was accused by many of being mainly responsible for the club going into administration; the forerunner of where they find themselves today.
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After the Arsenal first leg, Sheepshanks could not hide his delight for an Ipswich club that is still dear to his heart despite the knocks he’s taken.
He will be just as proud on Tuesday as he was in Milan and said: “It was a marvellous performance by the players against Arsenal last week, and also by the fans.
“They were magnificent and played their part to the full in a notable win, and with more games like that I can see supporters flooding back to Portman Road.
“It’s the start of a new era and I wish manager Paul Jewell a lot of luck.”
Ipswich also took a 1-0 lead from the first leg into their away game against Inter-Milan, but failed to capitalise on that.
Jewell has not only been working hard on the training ground this week but he took in Wolverhampton’s 5-0 FA Cup replay win on Tuesday over a Doncaster Rovers side that visits Portman Road for a Championship fixture on Saturday.
Talk of Jewell being interested in Newcastle’s Alan Smith and Birmingham’s Kevin Phillips appear to be wide of the mark with little chance of a permanent deal because of the high wages of both Premier League players and Ipswich’s location ruling out any loan move.
Lee Martin was training with Ipswich today after his recall from his loan at Charlton and will be in contention for a place in the squad against Doncaster.
The ex-Manchester United midfielder had not been able to win a place in the Charlton League One side recently and a change of manager has seen him been allowed to return to Suffolk.
For Pablo Counago to return from his season-long loan at Crystal Palace this month it needs all three parties to agree while Kevin Lisbie is unlikely to be but could be recalled from Millwall at 24 hours notice.