Big match preview: Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest – Everything you need to know
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Ipswich Town may have finally got a monkey off their back ahead of this afternoon’s top-half Championship clash with Nottingham Forest, but boss Mick McCarthy says he hadn’t given it a single thought.
All of Town’s points had come against sides in the bottom half of the table prior to Tuesday night’s gritty 1-0 victory at high-flying Derby County, an against-the-odds result which keeps the Blues on the coat-tails of the top-six.
“It’s all you guys who keep bringing that up – I don’t give it a minute’s thought,” said McCarthy.
“I’ve said before, beat all the bottom half sides twice, that’s 69 points (72), get in the play-offs, bang, move on (it took 80 points to get in the play-offs last season). It doesn’t worry me that.
“It was nice to beat Derby, but pretty much every time we go up there we beat them! Nevertheless it’s a good result against a very good team full of good players.
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“I thought we played well first half, then second half we had to defend. Bart (Bialkowski) made one good save, but I can’t remember him making loads of others.
“It was a morale-booster. It was a nice feeling.”
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Nottingham Forest beat Town 3-0 at the City Ground on the final day of last season to stay up on goal difference. They arrive at Portman Road today just one place and two points behind the Blues, with both sides clearly having improved since 2016/17.
“They’ve had a bit of a topsy-turvy one as well in terms of their start,” said McCarthy, referring to Forest’s nine wins and 10 defeats.
“You could see when we went there the influence that Mark Warburton was going to have.
“I think they are probably looking at themselves, a bit like us, thinking ‘we’ve done okay, but maybe we could have done better’.”
With today a fifth tough game in 15 gruelling days for Town, McCarthy added: “Wins and playing well helps with any fatigue. And we have been playing well. I’m not convinced that we’ve had the points that we’ve deserved from this run.
“I thought we deserved the point up at Hull (2-2); we should have beaten Sheffield Wednesday (2-2), that was just complete naivety and stupidity in the end; I thought we played well in the first half at Villa but gave two stupid goals away; and I thought our all-round performance deserved it on Tuesday night.”
52 – Games since Town kept successive league clean sheets (Oct 2016)
9 – Martyn Waghorn has already equalled Town’s league top-scorer tally of 16/17 (Tom Lawrence)
19 – Forest (9 wins, 10 defeats) are the first second-tier team to not draw any of their opening 19 games since Stoke in 1955/56
Team name: Nottingham Forest
Manager: Mark Warburton (Mar ‘17) P31 W14 D2 L15
Last five finishes: 21st, 16th, 14th, 11th, 8th
Current position: 10th (W9 D0 L10 F26 A29)
Last game: L 2-0 (a) Cardiff City
Last 10: LWLWLWWLWL
Away league form: P9 W3 D0 L6 F12 A18
Top-scorers: Murphy (7), Dowell (6)
Most assists: McKay (7), Dowell (3)
Biggest win 17/18: 4-0 QPR (h) - Nov 4
Biggest loss 17/18: 5-1 Chelsea (a) – Lg Cup
Clean sheets: 5
Notingham Forest 0 Ipswich Town 3
Date: Sunday, May 7, 2017
Forest comfortably secured their Championship safety on the final day of the season as Britt Assombalonga scored twice (43 pen, 69), had a penalty saved, while Chris Cohen netted in between. Assombalonga had also scored twice in a 2-0 November win at Portman Road.
Ipswich Town team news
• Captain Luke Chambers and teenage midfielder Flynn Downes are both suspended after picking up their fifth bookings of the season in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Derby.
• Tommy Smith (calf) is not ready to return, so either Jonas Knudsen or Jordan Spence will move inside to centre-back. Dominic Iorfa or Myles Kenlock will come into the team, with the latter (tight hamstring) facing a late fitness test.
• Joe Garner will miss a second game with a foot injury, but could return for next Saturday’s trip to Middlesbrough. Martyn Waghorn will continue to lead the line. • Asked if he will rotate his squad for a fifth game in 15 days, Mick McCarthy said: “I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Whatever I do, I hope it works and no-one’s complaining.”
• David McGoldrick (cut groin), Tom Adeyemi (hamstring), Luke Hyam and Andre Dozzell (both knee) all remain sidelined.
Nottingham Forest team news
• Midfielder Liam Bridcutt is available following a one-game ban.
• Left-winger Mustapha Carayol has made an impact off the bench and is pushing Barrie McKay for a start.
• Chris Cohen, Danny Fox (both knee) and Jack Hobbs (back) are all long-term absentees.
KEY OPPOSITION MAN
Daryl Murphy The veteran striker needs no introduction to Town fans. Still proving himself to be among the Championship’s best physical front men, the Irishman has seven goals this season.
Ipswich Town 13/8 Draw 13/5 Nottingham Forest 19/10
Darren Bond (Lancashire) Games: 18, Yellows: 60, Reds: 1
Ipswich Town 2 Nottingham Forest 1
Town confident after midweek, while are Forest inconsistent.