Town deserve some Carling Cup luck

IPSWICH TOWN: Blues management, players and fans are eagerly awaiting Saturday lunchtime’s fourth round Carling Cup draw.

Their ball could pop out to reveal a plum tie against a top Premier League club – or perhaps another rather mundane trip to somewhere like Swansea or Leicester City.

In the few seconds that it takes to draw out two teams the value of Ipswich working their socks off to win matches at Exeter City, Crewe Alexandra and Millwall will become known.

First all they will demand a home tie, and the law of averages will prevail this time at a time when Ipswich will be preparing for their Saturday afternoon Championship game at Scunthorpe United.

The last eight FA and Carling Cup draws has seen the Tractor Boys designated to go on their travels.

In fact, manager Roy Keane has yet to take charge for anything other than a league match for a competitive fixture at Portman Road.

Like being handed another away tie – heaven forbid – a home match will be looked at in two ways.

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A Championship club or lower on Suffolk soil on Tuesday October 26 and a place in the quarter-finals will be the target.

A Premier League side and the occasion will be treasured and the test appreciated, but hopes of making further progress will be drastically dimmed.

An away tie at Swansea, Brentford or Leicester say will carry little more glamour – and appeal – than Town’s three previous cup games this season.

But on the other hand a visit to the Emirates to play Arsenal - or to visit another top club - and the cash tills at Portman Road will start ringing and fans will be left rubbing their hands at the prospect of a memorable if not necessarily successful night out.

Since losing 2-0 at Barnsley in October 1960, Ipswich have competed in the League Cup in all its guises every year reaching the fourth round on 18 previous occasions.

The last time was in 2002/03 when they lost 5-4 on penalties at Anfield after drawing 1-1 with Liverpool. The previous season Newcastle won 4-1 at the same stage at St James Park.

Ipswich have gone on to reach three semi-finals – losing on aggregate to Liverpool in 1981/82, Norwich City in 1984/85 and Birmingham in 2000/01.

They have yet to reach a final.

Whatever the outcome of Saturday’s draw, Ipswich’s main aim this term is to win a place in the Premier League.

After so many barren years in cup competitions, Town fans deserve a bumper draw but there has to be care that players and management will not be detracted from their main focus of bringing the riches and the rewards of the Premier League back to Portman Road.

Ipswich are on high alert as they move close to bringing in a new loan signing.

The proposed move has been on and off for some while now with Blues owner Marcus Evans having given the go-ahead.

The delay has been caused by the reluctance of a Premier League club to agree to release a young player with Keane saying:

“Clubs are reluctant to let experienced players go.

“Older players often have families and don’t fancy moving away from home in a loan deal anyway.

“We are short in certain positions and we are hoping to have some news over the next day or two on a loan player.

“The player concerned though is not an experienced one.”

Ipswich have no major injury worries and Keane, who made eight changes for the Carling Cup 2-1 win at Millwall on Tuesday, will be looking for his team’s good away to continue in a league fixture at Scunthorpe.

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