Stick or twist?
MIDDLESBROUGH’S scintillating form is – ironically – one reason why Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell should stick with an attack-minded team at the Riverside on Saturday.
On the face of it, the prospect of visiting the high-flying Teesiders – a team who have lost just one of their last 19 Championship games – would suggest that the Blues might be wise to revert to a more defence-minded formation, regardless of the fact Monday night’s 3-0 home win over Coventry was achieved with Jason Scotland partnering Michael Chopra up front.
However, it is the very way the Teessiders have been rejuvenated under the management of former Blues favourites Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus which suggests the exact opposite.
Boro’s success at the back end of last season and the beginning of this new campaign has been built on stability. In their 10 games so far this season, 11 players have started seven games or more.
Consistency in selection has led to a consistency in results, with Mowbray’s men second and undefeated in the league – winning five and drawing two.
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By contrast, Jewell has constantly chopped and changed – both in terms of personnel and formations – in an attempt to find the right formula for his new-look squad. Only five players have started all seven league games, with the result being dramatic swings in performances and results.
The Blues boss admitted himself last week that now might be the time stick with a system. Now he has the perfect opportunity to stand by his convictions.
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– For the latest team news, see previous story.