‘We hope that they maybe take us a bit lightly’ – Hurst on trip to Birmingham
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst hopes that Birmingham City take his winless side lightly tomorrow.
Garry Monk’s men ended their own winless start to the season in spectacular fashion with a 2-1 win at Championship leaders Leeds last weekend.
The Midlands outfit are hoping that result proves to be lift-off following home draws against Norwich, Swansea, QPR and West Brom, as well as a stalemate at Nottingham Forest and narrow away losses to Middlesbrough and Bolton.
Asked if Birmingham had been better than their results suggest, Hurst said: “When I’ve seen them, yes. I was at the Sheffield United game (0-0) and they did very well in terms of frustrating before coming on strong at the end of the game.
“They’ve adopted a certain approach in the last three games (4-4-2). Prior to that, when I saw them on TV against Swansea (0-0 at home), they played a different way, were on the front foot and created a lot of chances but couldn’t take them and ended up having to settle for a point.
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“It’ll be interesting to see how they approach it. I’m sure they’ll be looking to build on last week and will think it’s a very winnable game for them. We hope that they maybe take us a bit lightly and we can capitalise on that.
“Was it a surprise they beat Leeds? It was in some ways because of how well Leeds have been doing but at the same time, having seen them in midweek, they can be a very difficult team to break down once in front.”
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Town have led in league matches for a combined total of just 29 minutes so far. Tomorrow, they are looking to avoid losing their opening five league away games of the season for the first time since 1965/66.
Last weekend’s goalless home draw with Bolton did see them climb off the foot of the table and register their first clean sheet of the campaign.
“I don’t feel we’ve been too far away from them before in truth,” said Hurst. “I do feel like we’ve been punished in, not all games, but certainly in some games where the opposition has done very little to us when we’ve looked at shots against us and things like that.
“It would be great if we can get two in a row, that’s what we’ll be aiming for against a team that are just on the back of a very good win at Leeds but at times have had their own problems when they should have got more from games that they haven’t.”
Hurst added: “The league is tough but all leagues are. I still think this league has got a group of teams who have strength in depth and big budgets.
“But it’s football and anyone can beat anyone on a given day. Our games, the majority have been pretty close and could have gone slightly different ways than they have.”
Last five finishes: 19th, 19th, 10th, 10th, 21st (all Championship)
Manager: Garry Monk (Mar ‘18): W6 D7 L8
Form: WDDDD LDLLD
Last game: W 2-1 Leeds (a)
Last home attendance: 22,715
Home record: W0 D4 L0 F3 A3
Loan players: Bogle (Cardiff), Gardner (Villa), Mahoney (Bournemouth)
Summer signings: Pedersen, Camp
League ever-presents: Colin, Dean, Morrison, Pedersen, Maghoma, Jota, Jutkiewicz
Top-scorer: Adams (3)
Ipswich Town team news
– Paul Hurst has doubts over two unnamed players.
– The Blues are now without Jon Walters after the striker was revealed to have a partially ruptured achilles, suffered in last weekend’s draw with Bolton Wanderers.
– Walters has returned to Burnley, meaning Janoi Donacien is likely to return to the matchday squad having previously missed out due to the Blues only being able to use five of their six loanees.
– Freddie Sears has made the trip having missed out in each of the last four games. He’s struggled with a groin problem.
– Emyr Huws (knee), Teddy Bishop (hamstring), Tom Adeyemi (achilles) all remain absent.
Birmingham City team news
– Garry Monk is likely to name an unchanged side following last weekend’s 2-1 victory at table-topping Leeds United. Gary Gardner is fit to play despite a knock.
– Craig Gardner and Maikel Kieftenbeld are both fit to return but will have to make do with places on the bench.
Opposition key man
Striker Che Adams is the only man to have scored more than one goal for Birmingham so far this season, with two of those coming in last weekend’s shock victory at Leeds United. All three of Adams’ goals have come from outside the penalty area.
6 – Birmingham draws – the most in league
3 – Successive defeats for Town at Andrew’s
4 – Town have lost their opening four away league games. The last time that happened was Bobby Robson’s first full season in charge (1969/70)
Birmingham City 1 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2018
A penalty proved the difference as Town went down to a third successive defeat just days after the announcement that Mick McCarthy would be leaving.
Jota converted from the spot in the 21st minute after Cameron Carter-Vickers dragged down Jacques Maghoma.
Birmingham City – 19/29
Draw – 23/10
Ipswich Town – 15/4
John Brooks (Leicestershire)
Meeting of two draw specialists. Could be case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for hosts after win at Leeds.