MATCH PREVIEW: Similarities are startling as Ipswich Town head to Wigan Athletic exactly a year after 2-0 defeat at DW Stadium
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town go in search of their first-ever win at Wigan Athletic tonight, following three straight league defeats at the DW Stadium. The Blues head to Lancashire without an away win to their name this season, while Wigan have won two and drawn one of their three home games thus far.
A year ago today, Mick McCarthy was cursing his side’s lack of a cutting-edge as they came away from Wigan Athletic pointless, courtesy of a 2-0 defeat.
A quirk in the fixture list sees the two teams go head-to-head on the exact same date as 12 months ago, but that’s not where the similarities end.
Back then, Town went into the game at the DW Stadium buoyed by back-to-back home victories against Middlesbrough and Yeovil.
Those victories came after a 1-1 draw at Birmingham and the previous week’s 2-1 home defeat to Leeds.
This time round, the Blues go into the game following two encouraging home wins on the spin, against Millwall and Brighton, which, coincidentally, followed an away draw, at Derby and a disappointing home defeat to bitter rivals Norwich.
- 1 Matchday Recap: Town out of Trophy after shootout loss
- 2 New farm shop and cafe opens in Suffolk countryside
- 3 Further case of Omicron Covid variant detected in East Anglia
- 4 Weather warning issued as Suffolk could see snow fall tomorrow
- 5 Under-used council land to become sites for 3,000 homes
- 6 Case of new Omicron Covid variant identified in Norfolk
- 7 Flood alerts issued for Suffolk coast ahead of expected high tide
- 8 'Fans are disgruntled - I understand it' - Cook on Papa John's Trophy exit to Arsenal U21s
- 9 Uproar as plans put in to turn Suffolk pub into vets
- 10 New Ed Sheeran Christmas song with Elton John out this week
Back in September 2013, Wigan were still adjusting to life back in the Championship, following a bittersweet season that saw relegation coupled with an FA Cup win.
They were also getting to grips with a Europa League campaign that saw them play on Thursdays and Sundays.
Now, under Uwe Rosler, the Latics are once again adjusting, this time as a result of a new-look squad having been put together by the former Brentford manager.
Having lost James McArthur to Crystal Palace for £7m, Rosler has spent well, bringing in former Town target Emyr Huws from Manchester City, French striker Andy Delort, Spanish frontman Oriol Riera and Danish midfielder William Kvist, amongst others.
Wigan’s win against Ipswich at the DW last season was only their third league win from their first seven games and it seemed like a good time for Town to face the Latics.
Possibly still suffering something of a hangover from last season’s play-off failure and FA Cup semi-final defeat, tonight could be seen as another golden opportunity to take three points.
However, don’t be fooled by Wigan’s lowly position, they have been extremely strong at home, Rosler’s team dismantling struggling Birmingham and Blackpool and only drawing at home to Reading after falling short in the second-half
And if Town are to take anything from the game, then they will have to be far more ruthless than their last visit there, McCarthy’s team earning plenty of plaudits but ultimately no points.
Front two David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy will start tonight, as they did a year ago, but whereas then they were something of a work in progress the dynamic duo now pose a genuine threat to Championship defences, with Murphy arguably Town’s most-improved player over the last 12-18 months.
Question marks still remain in midfield and with McCarthy hinting he could rest teenage midfielder Teddy Bishop, especially with Wigan preferring to play a five-man midfield, the focus could turn back onto the more defensive-minded Luke Hyam and Cole Skuse’s lack of goals.
But Town have been potent from defensive positions this season, with Christophe Berra having already plundered three goals and Jonathan Parr one.
Left-footed Parr, playing at right-back has proved a breath of fresh air and has complimented Tyrone Mings on the left, both providing an exciting offensive threat.
That could be stifled somewhat tonight, however, with Mings and Parr likely to be keeping an eye on Wigan’s overlapping wing-backs James Perch and Andrew Taylor.
But this is a game Town must look at taking points from if they have serious ambitions of making the top-six this season.
Wigan won’t be in the bottom half for long and were one of four top-six sides that did the double over Town last season.
Ipswich must address their record against the high-flying teams in the division, having already lost to Norwich this season, but a draw wouldn’t be the end of the world.
n Manager Mick McCarthy could elect to give teenage starlet Teddy Bishop a rest and bring back the more defensive-minded Luke Hyam in the centre of midfield, especially as Wigan are likely to play a five-man midfield.
n Cameron Stewart misses the trip to the DW Stadium having hyper-extended his knee in the under-21s game at Charlton on Monday.
n Stephen Hunt, Darren Ambrose and Jack Marriott could make the 18-man squad.
n Uwe Rosler doesn’t tend to make many changes but could hand summer signing from Brentford, Adam Forshaw his debut in midfield.
n Striker Oriol Riera is pressing for a recall.
“We went and played really well there early last season but they won 2-0 and I think second goal was a silly one,” said midfielder Jay Tabb.
“It wasn’t a 2-0 match and they have had a bit of a tricky run of late, so it could be a good time to play them.
“They are a good side though, have a good manager, and it will be really tough.”