Match preview: Ipswich Town v Aston Villa – Nash wants Blues to build on Forest display

Ipswich Town players congratulate Grant Ward after his goal at Nottingham Forest last weekend. Photo

Ipswich Town players congratulate Grant Ward after his goal at Nottingham Forest last weekend. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town’s temporary management team have got their feet under the table and devised a game-plan to combat promotion-chasing Aston Villa at Portman Road this afternoon.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce. Photo: PA

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Caretaker boss Bryan Klug, along with young assistants Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg, had just one training session with the team prior to last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

There were signs of a subtle style shift in that largely encouraging performance, which was soured by conceding two last-gasp goals, and Nash wants the Blues to build on that.

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“There were a lot of positives and a lot of good things throughout the game and we’ll be looking to do them again for 96, 97 minutes on Saturday,” said the 31-year-old. “Last week was pretty hectic, so I think everyone will benefit from a little breather.

Caretaker boss Bryan Klug speaks to Town skipper Luke Chambers on the bench last weekend. Photo: Pag

Caretaker boss Bryan Klug speaks to Town skipper Luke Chambers on the bench last weekend. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“We’ve been able to train well and we’re ready to go again. We’re on edge as a group of staff and when you are on edge is probably when you improve most.”


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He continued: “Bryan has been very busy focusing on the academy players and probably hasn’t seen a lot of the first team games. So the fact that Chris (Hogg) and I have been working closer to it has encouraged him to give us a lot of responsibility.

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“My role has been very much to look after the Under-23 team, but I’ve been around the gaffer (Mick McCarthy) and TC (Terry Connor) a lot and done a fair amount of watching the opposition for them.

Homegrown defender Chris Smith could be in the squad after being recalled from Chelmsford. Photo: St

Homegrown defender Chris Smith could be in the squad after being recalled from Chelmsford. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

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“I’ve managed to see Forest and Aston Villa live recently, so that’s probably helped.”

While Town can only finish somewhere between 12th and 17th heading into the final three games, Villa still harbour hopes of automatic promotion.

“The calibre of managers in this league is obviously very, very high,” said Nash. “We faced Aitor Karanka last weekend, it’s Steve Bruce this weekend and then Paul Clement (Reading) and Tony Pulis (Middlesbrough).

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“It’s incredibly stimulating for Chris and I. Even if it’s for a few weeks, it’s a great opportunity for us to be pitting our wits against managers of that calibre.

“I’m sure Steve Bruce isn’t taking anybody here lightly though. He’ll want to get another promotion on his CV.

“We’ve got a really good dressing room in terms of people. We have players who care about the football club. I think you saw that last Saturday.”

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Opposition lowdown

Manager: Steve Bruce (Oct ‘16: W40 D17 L26)

Last game: W 1-0 Leeds (h)

Form: WWLWD LLWWW

Away form: W9 D4 L8 F26 L22

Last five finishes: 13th (Championship), 20th, 17th, 15th, 15th (all Premier League)

Most league starts: Johnstone, Chester (43)

Most league assists: Snodgrass (14)

Most first team goals: Adomah (14)

Average league attendance: 31,658

Margins of victory: 1 (x12), 2 (x6), 3+ (7)

Margins of defeat: 1 (x4), 2 (x7), 3+ (x1)

Last two games: Derby (h), Millwall (a)

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Last meeting

Aston Villa 2 Ipswich Town 0

Date: Saturday, November 25, 2017

A goal in either half from Albert Adomah ensured the Blues were well beaten. The in-form Villa wide-man profited from slack defending at cross and a mistake by Dominic Iorfa after Joe Garner had an early finished controversially ruled out for a foul on the keeper.

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Ipswich Town team news

• Bersant Celina is available again after missing last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest through illness.

• Barry Cotter could return to the team following his impressive debut in last Tuesday night’s 1-0 home win against Barnsley.

• Ben Folami could replace Ben Morris up front as Bryan Klug looks to give young players game-time. Young defender Chris Smith could be in the squad after being recalled from Chelmsford.

• Dean Gerken, Luke Chambers, Adam Webster, Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi, Teddy Bishop, Andre Dozzell, David McGoldrick and Joe Garner remain sidelined.

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Aston Villa team news

• Veteran defender John Terry missed last Friday night’s 1-0 home win against Leeds with an ankle injury. Miles Jedinak dropped back into defence.

• Chris Samba, James Bree, Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane, Albert Adomah and Scott Hogan were all on the bench last time out and are options if Steve Bruce wants to freshen his side up.

• Injury-hit striker Jonathan Kodjia was handed his first start in seven months last week.

• Alan Hutton and Birkir Bjarnason are sidelined.

Opposition key man

Jack Grealish

The 22-year-old has oozed class in the No.10 role. Has the ability to glide past players and the vision to carve open chances for others. Premier League clubs will come calling if Villa aren’t promoted.

Odds

Ipswich Town 9/2

Draw 56/19

Aston Villa 7/9

Referee

Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Games: 38, Yellows: 123, Reds: 5

Stu’s prediction

Ipswich Town 1 Aston Villa 2

Town to play with freedom, but Villa’s extra class to show.

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