McKenna considering changes for Accrington visit

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna gives instructions to Conor Chaplin during a break in play.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna gives instructions to Conor Chaplin. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has suggested he will freshen up his team for tomorrow's League One visit of Accrington Stanley.

The Blues boss has named the same outfield XI for all three of his opening games in charge, but is ready to shuffle the pack slightly following last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Bolton.

Conor Chaplin, Bersant Celina, Tom Carroll, Kane Vincent-Young and Joe Pigott have all stepped off the bench in recent weeks.

Asked if he was considering personnel changes, the Northern Irishman said: “Yeah, but not necessarily because of the defeat, to be honest. It’s more due to the fact we have a big squad and everybody is going to be important between now and the end of the season. 

“The team has been consistent over the last few games, obviously it has been performing well, but it was never going to be the case that we were going to select the same team for 10, 11, 12 games in a row. 

“We have good players here who are hungry, who are training well and who want a chance to impress. It’s very important we keep that pot bubbling. It’s important for players to know that if they train well there will be opportunities. 

“We have different assets in the squad to consider. We’re looking at Accrington and where we think we can hurt them. I’m in a good position to have good options and we’ll look to use those options."

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Scott Fraser is the only fresh injury for the Blues. The Scottish midfielder, who has failed to make the matchday 18 for the last two matches, has picked up a minor knee injury in training this week. He joins long-term absentees Jon Nolan and Hayden Coulson in the treatment room. 

On opponents Accrington, who sit 10th in the table, McKenna said: "I haven’t seen that much of them, I have to say, up until the last couple of weeks, but the way John Coleman has got them working, the attitude of the team, the hunger, the way they fight for each other on the pitch, they are a credit to him. 

“They’ve played some big teams in the division over the last five games and remained undefeated. They’ve even gone down to 10 men and still been competitive, which shows a lot about their spirit and stubbornness as a team. 

“We faced them earlier in the season (losing 2-1) and know how difficult that game was, so we’re under no illusions about the challenge tomorrow. The players know they are going to have to be at their best.  

"Everyone was disappointed with the result last weekend, but the reaction has been good. We’ve looked back at the game and where we feel we can improve. Training has had good intensity and now we’re really keen to get back to a home game, because that Wycombe game (on December 29) seems like a long time ago."

Explaining what he wants his team to do better this weekend, the Blues boss said: “Creating chances hasn’t been a strong point for the team throughout the season.

“We feel like over a few games we have created well, but then at Bolton we didn’t get behind them enough, we didn’t get down the sides enough. We’ve looked at that, we’ve worked on it in training because we felt it was one of the big missing links from a game we did a lot of things well in. 

“In the second half I think we had 71% of the ball against a good footballing team who also want to have the ball. And we didn’t have the ball because Bolton allowed to have the ball. We had the ball because we pressed well and kept the ball well. 

“We don’t want to just have control though, we want to add penetration and create chances."