Star backs Town against Chelsea after his Stamford Bridge experience last season
IPSWICH Town defender Mark Kennedy today backed the Blues to give holders Chelsea a run for their money in Sunday’s third round FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge.
“We can surprise them,” said Kennedy.
And the 34-year-old should know as he played against the London-based aristocrats in the world’s most glamorous club competition 12 months ago.
Kennedy was a member of the Cardiff City side that lost 4-1 as Chelsea reached the sixth round in their quest to win the cup and make it a double after winning the Premier League.
Two years ago Ipswich lost 3-1 at Chelsea in the fourth round, but they will find opponents on this occasion who have gone off the boil in recent weeks and now look outsiders to regain their league title.
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They will want to get to Wembley again in the FA Cup and will start short-priced favourites.
But Kennedy saw enough last season to travel with hope.
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He said: “We went a goal down to Didier Drogba after two minutes, but Michael Chopra equalised in the 34th minute.
“We were matching them, but then one lapse in concentration saw Michael Ballack net in the 51st minute and we ended up losing 4-1.
“We showed enough to suggest that Ipswich can make life difficult for Chelsea although we cannot afford to have a break in concentration.
“Chelsea have world class players, but they can have an off day and we must go into the game – as Cardiff did – believing.
“They will have 11 players thinking they can win, and we must ensure we all feel the same way.
“It’s a great day out for our fans, and they deserve it.
“But for the players it’s not a fun day. We must want to win as much as them.”
Chelsea fielded a strong side against Cardiff with Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel, Alex and Michael Ballack all starting and Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda coming off the bench.
The attendance was 40,827 with Town expected to have 3,000 travelling fans on Sunday – having sold their allocation with a sale or return policy seeing caution being observed as 6,000 was the alternative number offered to Ipswich.
Kennedy saw Monday’s 1-0 Championship home defeat to Nottingham Forest in a different light to most fans saying there were more positives than negatives.
“There’s huge belief in our camp despite recent results and we don’t even have to say that Roy Keane is an excellent manager as that is obvious,” added Kennedy, who joined Town on a two-year deal last summer.
“It’s all about opinions, but I see us having a chance on Sunday.”