Match preview: Home is where the hurt is for Hull, but Town aren’t travelling well either
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst is glad to finally have the distraction of the transfer window behind him.
The Blues boss signed 12 players, sold three key men and loaned out several youngsters during his first summer at the club.
While all that was going on there was seven games in 30 days and, ultimately, the Blues reached the first international break still searching for their first win.
The Championship action resumes at fellow strugglers Hull City this afternoon – a team who have lost all four of their outings on home soil so far.
“I know we are still talking about one more potential in (free agent Danny Collins), but in general we can now concentrate on who’s here, the phone won’t be ringing off the hook and there won’t be as many things going on in the background,” said Hurst.
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“There’s no doubt anyone that plays us at this moment in time will think that it’s a very winnable game.
“We’re focussed on what we’re trying to do. If we can play how we believe we can then we will certainly give them a good game. If we can heap any sort of pressure on them then great.”
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Hurst has started 20 different players in the six league games so far. Asked if he would like a more settled team going forwards, he replied: “Not particularly. It’s not just about 11 players. I’m thinking about the number of games and the travel.
“We’ve then got Brentford coming here (home on Tuesday night), one of arguably the best footballing sides in the division, and that’s a big ask (followed by the visit of Bolton next Saturday).
“I’ve got to try and be sensible about what to do. Some of that will be dictated by performances and what physical exertions have gone in.”
The Blues boss used the international break to largely work on improving his players’ fitness levels, with afternoon sessions in the newly refurbished gym now undertaken every Tuesday and Thursday.
“We saw massive benefits from that in the past (at Shrewsbury), it’s something that we believe in and already you can see one or two lads benefitting from that,” explained Hurst.
“We want to produce good footballers, of course, but part of being a footballer is being strong and quick. If we’ve made you a second quicker over 100m than that’s a big improvement.”
Manager: Nigel Adkins (Dec 17): W10 D11 L16
Last five finishes: 18th (Championship), 18th (Prem Lg), 4th (Championship), 18th, 16th (Prem Lg)
Last game: L 2-1 Derby (h)
Last attendance: 12,285
Summer signings: Burke, Elphick, de Wijs, Lichaj, Kane, Milinkovic, Martin
Key exits: McGregor, Odubajo, Dawson, Larsson, Meyler, Hernandez
Top-scorers: Irvine, Campbell (2)
League ever-presents: Marshall, de Wijs, Lichaj, Kane, Bowen, Evandro, Campbell
7 – Defeats in last eight away league games for Town
2008 – Last time Town beat Hull (D3 L8)
4 – Hull haven’t lost their opening four home league games in the club’s entire history
Ipswich Town team news
– Paul Hurst has confirmed Dean Gerken will retain his place in goal after replacing Bartosz Bialkowski for the clash with Norwich.
– Jon Walters returned from Ireland duty early following his lack of action of late, but Hurst has no major concerns over his fitness.
– Cole Skuse is fit to return to the Blues’ side after recovering from the head injury he suffered against Norwich. Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop are not yet ready to be involved, though.
– Toto Nsiala serves the second game of his three-match ban following his sending off at Sheffield Wednesday.
– Hurst must decide which of his six loanees will sit out the game, with only five eligible for the matchday squad. Janoi Donacien missed out against Norwich.
Hull City team news
– Australian international Jackson Irvine could return to the Hull side after recovering from a thigh injury.
– Kamil Grosicki could also earn a recall, two weeks after a move to Turkey fell through.
– Eric Lichaj was due back from international duty with the USA yesterday and will be a late decision for Nigel Adkins.
– Former Norwich striker Chris Martin and Tommy Elphick could make their debuts after arriving on loan from Derby and Aston Villa respectively.
Opposition key man
Jarrod Bowen led the Tigers’ scoring charts last season with 15 goals in all competitions, with one coming at Portman Road. He’s yet to find the net this season but is always a threat down Hull’s right flank.
Hull win - 13/10
Ipswich win - 23/10
Draw - 5/2
Tony Harrington (Cleveland)
Games: 3, Yellows: 12, Reds: 1
Ipswich Town 0 Hull City 3
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Mick McCarthy held a debrief on the Portman Road pitch following an embarrassing defeat amidst a toxic atmosphere. Markus Henriksen (18), Harry Wilson (40) and Jarrod Bowen (47) scored the goals as Town drew a home blank for the fifth game in succession.
Hull City 0 Ipswich Town 1
Not expecting a classic. Not brimming with optimism, but score first and home crowd could turn.