‘Love from the fans is what’s keeping us going’ – Chalobah ready go again at Portman Road
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Trevoh Chalobah says the love of the Ipswich Town fans is ‘what’s keeping us going’.
The Blues are 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table heading into this afternoon’s home game with free-falling Stoke City.
And yet supporters have really bought into manager Paul Lambert’s passion and playing style to create an incredibly positive atmosphere at Portman Road.
A crowd of 18,604 was in fine voice throughout Wednesday night’s spirited 1-1 home draw with play-off chasing Derby County just days after watching their team show so much fight in a 3-0 defeat at rivals Norwich City.
On both occasions, the players and fans responded superbly to high-flying opposition breaking the deadlock with little more than a minute on the clock.
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“The crowd has been fantastic since day one and that’s what’s keeping us going,” said Chelsea loanee midfielder Chalobah. “The love from the fans is great so hopefully they will stay with us until the end.
“If we can cut out conceding early and start games like we’ve been playing over the remaining games then we will have a good chance.
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“Norwich are a really strong team and we matched both them and Derby. We need to keep taking these performances into every game we play now. We have to have that mentality.
“Stoke is going to be another tough game for us. Every game is a final now because of the position we’re in.
“But if we play like we did on Sunday and Wednesday night then we can win.”
Blues boss Lambert spent four months in charge of Stoke at the start of 2018. He was unable to prevent them slipping out of the Premier League for the first time since 2008.
Former Birmingham and Derby boss Gary Rowett replaced him the hot-seat but was sacked last month with the star-studded Potters sitting 14th. The Staffordshire side appointed Nathan Jones from League One table-toppers Luton Town but their form has not improved and they arrive in Suffolk 11 points above the drop zone.
“I’ve got so much time for the club and supporters,” said Lambert. “I know the club and I know most things about it. There are still a lot of the lads there that were there when I was there. They spent a lot of money in January.
“I got a really nice reception up there when I was back. But we’re playing well, and we can win. They’ll know they’re in for a hard game coming here.”
Last five finishes: 19th, 13th, 9th, 9th, 9th (all Premier League)
Manager: Nathan Jones (Jan ‘19): P7 W1 D1 L5
Form: DLLLW LLDLD
Last game: D 0-0 Wigan (a) – Weds
Margins of victory: 1 (x6), 2 (x4)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x6), 2 (x6), 3 (x1)
January signings: Vokes (Burnley), Batth (Wolves)
Top-scorers: 9: Afobe; 6: Ince, Allen;
Most league starts: 32: Butland, Allen; 26: Ince; 25: Indi; 23: Shawcross, Woods, Afobe
24 – Average age of the 16 outfield players in Town’s squad v Derby
2008 – Last time Stoke visited Portman Rd for a league game (1-1)
2006 – The last time Stoke went five games without scoring in the league
Ipswich Town team news
– Luke Chambers (foot) and Cole Skuse (virus) both missed out against Derby on Wednesday night and Paul Lambert could be without the experienced duo once again.
– If both are absent, Bartosz Bialkowski will again captain the Blues.
– James Collins needs more time to recover from a hamstring injury.
– Flynn Downes went off after the break against Derby after falling ill.
– With six loanees at the club and only five able to be used in a matchday squad, Callum Elder was left out against the Rams. He is likely to be on the sidelines again.
– Jack Lankester remains absent with a back injury and Emyr Huws is not ready to return from knee/calf trouble. Grant Ward, Freddie Sears (both knee) and Tom Adeyemi (Achilles) are also out.
Stoke City team news
– Potters boss Nathan Jones has used a diamond midfield formation since taking the Stoke job but switched system at half-time in Wednesday night’s draw with Wigan.
– Right-back Tom Edwards suffered a head injury in that game and is set to miss out. Moritz Bauer is likely to take his place.
– Charlie Adam could be recalled after returning to training following a calf injury.
Opposition key man
There was little in the game between the two sides in December but a moment of class from Joe Allen sealed the deal as he flicked home the second. The Welsh international is creative, clinical and at the centre of what the Potters do. He has six goals to his name this season.
Stoke City 2 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Town gave as good as they got at the bet365 Stadium, two moments of quality settling the match.
Tom Ince slotted home seconds before the break then Joe Allen provided a fine finish on the hour. Jack Lankester impressed for the Blues.
Ipswich Town – 16/5
Draw – 23/10
Stoke City – 21/20
Scott Duncan (Tyne and Wear)
Games: 19, Yellows: 62, Reds: 5
Ipswich Town 2 Stoke City 0
Stoke in transition and free-falling. Town have found a formula.