PICTURE GALLERY: Ipswich Town’s fringe players shine in spirited FA Cup defeat at Aston Villa

Aston Villa v Ipswich: THE Blues may have been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle for the third successive season, but there were plenty of positives to take from Saturday’s spirited 2-1 defeat at Premier League club Aston Villa.

With home boss Paul Lambert able to bring back �27.5m worth of talent into side in the form of Darren Bent and Charles N’Zogbia – with fit-again Gabriel Agbonlahor coming off the bench – Blues boss Mick McCarthy took the chance to rest some key players following a gruelling Christmas period.

Keeper Scott Loach pulled off some excellent saves in what was his first appearance under McCarthy, teenage right-back Elliott Hewitt looked unfazed in what was his first start above League Two level, while Michael Chopra showed signs that he can fill the goalscoring void left following DJ Campbell’s return to QPR.

To take a look at a gallery of pictures from the entertaining cup tie, click the link in the top right of this story.

– Stuart Watson will be hosting an Ipswich Town webchat at 1pm today. Join in to have your say on loanees, transfers and who should play at Cardiff on Saturday.