Barry and Aluko set for Town debuts in Cup, but who else will play?
- Credit: ITFC
Ipswich Town host League Two side Newport County in the first round of the Carabao Cup at Portman Road tonight (7.45pm ko). STUART WATSON previews the action.
WHO WILL PLAY?
All the talk after Saturday's opening day 2-2 home draw with newly-promoted Morecambe was about how this new-look Ipswich Town side needs time to gel.
Paul Cook has made it clear, however, that tonight's early season cup tie will be used to assess other options rather than work on team chemistry.
Whether the changes are wholesale remains to be seen.
Teenage Aston Villa loanee Louie Barry and the experienced Sone Aluko will almost certainly make their debuts after arriving late last Friday.
New boys Kyle Edwards and Hayden Coulson won't feature, however, having been registered after yesterday's 12pm registration cut-off point.
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Will Tomas Holy be given a game between the sticks, or will Cook continue to bed in Vaclav Hladky?
Who will replace the injured Toto Nsiala at centre-back? New boy George Edmundson isn't quite ready for action after arriving with an unspecified injury, leaving Janoi Donacien (who played well there at the weekend) or Corrie Ndaba as options to partner Luke Woolfenden.
If Donacien does play centre-back, might we see Wes Burns at right-back? It's likely Kane Vincent-Young will get the cotton wool treatment following his previous injury woes.
Will Matt Penney continue at left-back given Myles Kenlock is out in the cold? Or could Cook dip into the under-23s for someone like Bailey Clements?
With Jon Nolan still sidelined, Lee Evans and Reekem Harper are the only fit senior central midfielders at present. If Cook wants to rest one or both of them he will have to look to Idris El Mizouni or teenager Cameron Humphreys.
And then there's the question of who plays up top and in behind.
More game time for Conor Chaplin and Joe Pigott, who were both a little quiet on debut, or starts for Macauley Bonne and James Norwood after the substitutes combined for that late equaliser? A look at Scott Fraser in his preferred No.10 slot? Or some game-time for Armando Dobra after his impressive pre-season?
The Blues boss is certainly not short of options.
FIVE IN 15
In the decade which has passed since that memorable two-legged semi-final defeat to Arsenal, Ipswich Town have won just five out of 15 League Cup ties.
The furthest the Blues have got in recent years was the third round trip to Old Trafford in 2015. Mick McCarthy made 11 changes that day, the likes of Piotr Malarcyk, Josh Yorwerth and Giles Coke featuring in a 3-0 defeat to a Manchester United side which included the likes of Wayne Rooney, David de Gea and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Wins against Stevenage and Doncaster were what was required to set up that big away day for thousands of fans.
There have been first round exits to Northampton, Stevenage (twice), Crawley, Exeter (when Paul Hurst slammed his new players) and Luton, as well as second hurdle falls against Carlisle (away from home in extra-time) and Crystal Palace (a gutsy effort from the kids).
Last season, Town opened their season with a 3-0 win at Bristol Rovers in the first round of the Carabao Cup before going on to lose 1-0 at home to Premier League outfit Fulham.
UP FOR THE CUP?
Cook hasn't got a great League Cup record himself. He oversaw two wins in nine at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan.
Chesterfield did make the fourth round of the FA Cup in 2015 though, while Wigan reached the quarter-finals in 2018 after beating Manchester City.
At a recent Supporters' Club event, the Blues boss was asked how he'd be approaching knock-out football this season.
“It’s always a very, very interesting one,” he replied.
“There’s nothing else on our radar other than promotion - that’s top of the list. The FA Cup then is very much second in the list.
“I think as you fall, the Carabao Cup and the Papa John’s Trophy, I think you will see us make changes in those competitions due to the fact that we will prioritise the other competitions.
“We will have a very strong team out against Newport, but it mightn’t be the strongest team."
OPPOSITION IN BRIEF
Newport County have suffered Wembley heartache in two of the last three seasons.
The South Wales side lost 1-0 in extra-time of the 2019 Play-Off Final to a James Norwood inspired Tranmere. Last season, history repeated as they lost 1-0 in extra-time to Morecambe, this time courtesy of a controversial penalty.
The Exiles reached the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in 2020. After beating Swansea, Cambridge United and Watford, they eventually exited the competition on a penalty shoot-out against Newcastle (all four games at home).
Michael Flynn's side opened their new season with a 1-0 win at Oldham at the weekend, 42-year-old veteran Kevin Ellison heading home at the death.
Ed Upson, Ipswich Town's 2005 FA Youth Cup Final hero, was one of five players to make their debuts.
The two sides haven't met since a League Cup tie back in 1972.