Town warned to expect a miserable Christmas

WATFORD are poised to make it a miserable Christmas Ipswich Town when they visit Portman Road on Sunday afternoon for a Championship fixture.

The Hornets have a stranglehold over Town having not been beaten in the last dozen meetings between the two clubs.

And the side that put an end to QPR’s unbeaten league record in their last game are geared up to make sure it is not unlucky 13 for them over the festive weekend.

Watford goalkeeping coach Alec Chamberlain, 46, took a break from preparing another former Ipswich youth player - Scott Loach - for Boxing Day’s match to confirm his club’s desire to keep their good run against the Blues going.

“It was an exceptional performance to win at Loftus Road and we were all bitterly disappointed that snow ruled out our home match against Preston last Saturday,” said Chamberlain.

“Having beaten Leicester in our previous game we are now focused on getting another good result.

“It’s not a matter of having a stranglehold over Ipswich it’s about performing to the max.

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“We expect to get pestered at the back like we were at Portman Road last season when we managed a late leveller, and there have been times when it has been backs to the wall over those 12 games for us.

“It will be tough again but we have shown this season that we can defend well and we’ll not be shy on effort and we want another good result to keep on track.”

Chamberlain, who went on to play for Colchester, Luton and Sunderland before making 247 appearances for the Hornets before hanging up his gloves, has been 14 years at Vicarage Road.

“There has never been a dull moment with promotion, relegation and financial problems,” he added.

“We have a youth ethos these days and 50% of our current squad came through our academy.”

Loach was on Ipswich’s books before his family moved to Nottingham and he made his name with Lincoln before moving on to Watford.

“Scott’s done well in his five years here,” continued Chamberlain. “And he wants to achieve something in the game.

“He’s been busy against Ipswich before and he expects to be again.”

Chamberlain was substitute keeper the last time Town tasted success against Watford when Dean Bowditch notched a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory nearly seven years ago.

“We had Lenny Pidgeley in goal on loan from Chelsea and it was not his finest hour,” said Chamberlain.

“This happens sometimes and there was a strong wind blowing in a match that kicked off early as it was on TV.

“The pitch was immaculate and we thought the ball had struck the only bobble for the first goal, but a Sky Sports official told us during the game that the ball had rebounded of Lenny’s standing leg!”

Bowditch was 17 at the time and after an encouraging debut as a substitute against Norwich City and a winning Carling Cup extra-time goal against Kidderminster he appeared to cement his arrival in the big time with his three goals.

Pidgeley attempt to clear a Sean Dyche back pass in the fifth minute when horribly wrong to gift the opener, and Bowditch slotted home a second goal midway through the half before Pidgeley was at fault again for the third goal on the hour following a misunderstanding with defender Jerel Ifil.

Jermaine Wright added a fourth Town goal in the 90th minute after Scott Fitzgerald had netted for the Hornets just before the interval.

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Watford’s stranglehold over Ipswich Town following a Blues 4-1 victory at Portman Road on March 23 2004.

October 23 2004 (A) 2-2 (Westlake, D Bent), February 2 2005 (H) 1-2 (Miller), October 22 2005 (H) 0-1, April 17 2006 (A) 1-2 (Forster), February 2 2007 (FA Cup) (A) 0-1, September 1 2007 (A) 0-2, February 9 2008 (H) 1-2 (Walters), August 30 2008 (A) 1-2 (Counago), March 21 2009 (H) 0-0, October 20 2009 (H) 1-1 (McAuley), March 16 2010 (A) 1-2 (Colback), October 19 2010 (A) 1-2 (Norris).

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