Match preview: Derby County v Ipswich Town - Everything you need to know
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Ipswich Town take on Derby County in a Championship match at Pride Park this evening (7.45pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is hoping one run ends and another continues for his side at Derby County tonight.
Pride Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years. They’ve won 1-0 there on the last two visits courtesy of goals from Luke Varney and David McGoldrick, while in 2013 there was both a memorable 4-4 draw and Carlos Edwards’ smash-and-grab winner.
Altogether it’s a nine-game unbeaten run which stretches back to 2006.
“I’d had preferred it if that hadn’t been mentioned,” joked McCarthy, superstitiously. “If you have a happy hunting ground it might happen again, but I’ve also taken the view that they will be thinking they are going to stop it.
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“There’s two sides to every story, isn’t there? Mine and theirs.”
Then there’s the fact that veteran Rams striker David Nugent has scored 15 goals in 15 games against Town for Preston, Portsmouth, Leicester and Middlesbrough.
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“I watched back their game yesterday and said ‘oh, I forgot he is there’,” said McCarthy, who back in 2013 quipped that he hoped Leicester would get promoted so that Nugent could ‘p*** off out of my sight!’ following two goals at Portman Road for the Foxes.
“I guess it’s about time he didn’t score against us and about time we won when we were playing against him.”
Meanwhile, the Blues boss says he doesn’t feel his team’s poor defensive record – 28 goals conceded is the most outside of the Championship’s bottom five – is anything to do with a 4-2-3-1 system which accommodates a fluid front four.
“We’ve not been opened up in too many games, it’s been mistakes coming from ridiculous things where you think ‘how the hell has that happened?,” he said.
“And not just come from defenders either, I might add. It’s a case of showing them.”
He added: “We’ve been in every game and were equally as good as Villa leading up to the first goal on Saturday.
“Analyse the goals we have conceded. Were either of Villa’s goals down to our system? No. The first was because we didn’t clear the corner kick, the other was a goal in behind the back four.
“If I wasn’t happy with the formation do you think I would keep picking it?”
Derby won 3-0 at Middlesbrough on Saturday courtesy of a Matej Vydra hat-trick. It was a sixth win in eight for Gary Rowett’s men and saw them move into the play-off places.
“I’ve watched their game back and they had to defend for the first 20 minutes,” said McCarthy. “Middlesbrough were good but they scored against the run of play, which was a really good goal by Vydra, but then it was two mistakes from the Middlesbrough defenders and keeper.
“It looks like a real thrashing but it wasn’t in those terms. Nevertheless, to win 3-0 at Middlesbrough is a great result.
“What they’re not doing is winning 5-0 then losing 2-0 and losing two on the bounce. They seem to be more consistent and more pragmatic, I would say.
“They are a bit like Villa. I don’t think Villa are an outlandishly flash team but they keep getting results.
“I think Gary (Rowett) has made a real difference and if he’s allowed to get on with it and do it his way then they will be a real threat for those promotion places.”
Team name: Derby County
Nickname: The Rams
Manager: Gary Rowett (Mar ‘17: P29 W14 D8 L7)
Ground: Pride Park (33,597)
Last five finishes: 9th, 5th, 8th, 3rd, 10th
Current position: 6th (W9 D5 L4 F20 A9)
Home form: P8 W5 D1 L2 F15 A7
Last game: W 3-0 (a) Middlesbrough
Top-scorers: Vydra (12), Nugent, Johnson, Winnall (all 4)
Most assists: Lawrence (3)
Ipswich Town 0 Derby County 3
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Following Luke Chambers’ near deadline day move to Nott’m Forest, Town were comfortably beaten on home soil as Craig Bryson (9), Tom Ince (12) and Darren Bent (45) all scored in the first half.
The Blues won the earlier reverse fixture 1-0 courtesy of Luke Varney’s goal (53).
• Dominic Iorfa has been passed fit after limping off in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
• Bersant Celina and Jordan Spence could return to the side after being rested at the weekend.
• David McGoldrick (cut to groin), Tom Adeyemi (hamstring) and Tommy Smith (calf) all remain sidelined. On Adeyemi, Mick McCarthy said: “He was looking at Forest (on Saturday) but it’s going to be beyond that now.”
• Luke Hyam and Andre Dozzell are long-term absentees.
• Luke Chambers and Joe Garner are both one yellow card away from a suspension. The slate is wiped clean after this match.
• Gary Rowett could well name an unchanged side for the fourth successive game following a 1-1 draw at Fulham and wins against QPR
(2-0 at home) and Middlesbrough (3-0 away).
• The likes of George Thorne, Johnny Russell and Chris Martin are options to freshen things up.
• Sam Winnall (ankle) and Bradley Johnson (hamstring) are both injured.
• Ex-Town striker Darren Bent (hamstring) recently returned to action in the Under-23s and could be on the bench.
KEY OPPOSITION MAN
The Czech forward was hailed as the Championship’s ‘best number 10’ by boss Gary Rowett following his hat-trick in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Middlesbrough. The £8m ex-Watford man has netted 12 goals in 11 starts.
Derby County 7/10
Ipswich Town 5/1
Scott Duncan (Northumberland)
Games: 19, Yellows: 50, Reds: 4
Derby County 3 Ipswich Town 1
Settled Rams hitting their stride. Worry it could be a long night.