Town must avoid ignominy of four home defeats on bounce

IPSWICH Town have not lost four home league games on the bounce, in the second tier of the Football League, for a distant 57 years.

IPSWICH Town have not lost four home league games on the bounce, in the second tier of the Football League, for a distant 57 years.

And Paul Jewell’s men will not want to update that record after today’s test against managerless and relegation-threatened Scunthorpe United.

Town have occasionally lost four league games on the spin, while in the Premier League or the old First Division.

The last time they succumbed to a quartet of Portman Road reverses was in the 2001-02 season, when George Burley’s men were beaten by visiting West Ham, Bolton, Arsenal and Newcastle between September and December, 2001.

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But you have to hark back to the 1954-55 season, under Scott Duncan, to find the last time Town lost four home league fixtures in succession, while playing outside the top division.

Town lost 10 consecutive games, including five at home, early on that season. Not surprisingly, they went on to be relegated from the Second Division.

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On the face of it, managerless Scunthorpe should be the ideal opposition to stop the rot this afternoon. The Portman Road faithful will settle for nothing less than a home win.

Ian Baraclough’s first match in charge of the Iron, on a permanent basis, following Nigel Adkins’ switch to Southampton, was Town’s visit to Glanford Park in September.

But the 40-year-old lasted less than six months on the Iron hot-seat, despite some recent eye-catching wins over Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Swansea.

Tony Daws, the Head of Youth, will be in charge on a caretaker basis this afternoon, assisted by chief scout Lee Turnbull.

“It’s disappointing for Ian (Baraclough) that he has lost his job,” explained Jewell.

“But Scunthorpe will probably be fired up, because the change of manager usually leads to a positive change of results.

“We have to make sure that we are on our guard, so that it doesn’t happen to us.

“We have got three out of the bottom four to play at home. People think that’s easy but it’s very tough this league, because it is very even,” added Jewell.

The Iron have lost on all their previous six visits to Portman Road, and have only beaten Town once, a 4-0 success at the Iron’s former home of the Old Showground in 1960.

Skipper David Norris was hoping to return to the Town team, after serving a two-match suspension, but he faces a late fitness test on a troublesome ankle injury. He only returned to training on Thursday.

Kieron Dyer looks a good bet to start, having appeared as a 53rd minute substitute in the 3-1 home defeat to Watford on Tuesday night. The 32-year-old former Town star, who originially left Portman Road in 1999 to join Newcastle in a club record �6m move, is currently on a month’s loan from West Ham.

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