Match preview: Ipswich Town v QPR – Hurst hopes he’s finally found a winning formula
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Ipswich Town host QPR in a Championship match at Portman Road this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst says he’ll pick the team he feels is best to win a game of football – regardless of whether they are players he signed or inherited.
The Blues boss made 12 additions during a hectic first transfer window, most with little to no experience at Championship level, and warned the senior players who remained at the club that no-one should take their place for granted.
There has been no prejudice when it’s come to wielding the axe in search of a winning formula though.
As it happened, his first victory in charge finally came at the 13th attempt, by a score of 3-2 at Swansea prior to last weekend’s international break, with a team that had more of the old guard than new (eight of the 14 who were involved he inherited).
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Asked if that had been a conscious decision, Hurst, speaking ahead of today’s Championship clash with QPR at Portman Road, replied: “I’m going to say no. It was a while ago, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t thought of like that.
“I think we felt that we needed that experience in some areas. Other than that we just picked the team that we thought, realistically, was best to try and get a result.
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“We’d played midweek as well (losing 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough), which maybe influenced a couple of decisions.
“Then, having had a good performance in what was a very tough game, with those lads having stepped up... Without me saying it’s going to be exactly the same team, they’ve certainly made a strong case for getting the nod again.”
He continued: “I just look at the individual. Certain individuals who have come to the club might need a little bit more time to bed in than others.
“But it’s the same with ones who have been here a long time. Some have perhaps done well in the past but, as I’ve said before, that doesn’t mean anything now.
“I don’t mean that arrogantly or anything, but what someone did last year for the previous manager doesn’t really help us in this situation. Never mind myself, I mean the football club.
“It’s about the here and now and who I feel is doing well. Can they bring a balance to the team? What qualities do they bring?
“Hopefully that win will give everyone a bit of confidence now we’re free of that ball and chain.”
MOST CHAMPIONSHIP MINUTES PLAYED UNDER HURST
1080 – Luke Chambers (inherited)
1035 – Jonas Knudsen (inherited)
955 – Gwion Edwards (signed)
898 – Cole Skuse (inherited)
888 – Trevoh Chalobah (signed)
835 – Jon Nolan (signed)
705 – Toto Nsiala (signed)
677 – Janoi Donacien (signed)
630 – Dean Gerken (inherited)
597 – Grant Ward (inherited)
Inherited players = 5,552
Signed players = 6,258
Team v Swansea: Gerken; Pennington, Nsiala, Chambers, Donacien (Knudsen 46); Chalobah, Skuse; Edwards (Jackson 89), Dozzell (Downes 80), Ward; Sears.
Manager: Steve McClaren (May 2018): P15 W6 D2 L7
Last five finishes: 16th, 18th, 12th (all Championship), 20th (Premier League), 4th (Championship)
Form: DWLLL WWDWW
Last game: D 1-1 Derby (h)
League ever-presents: Bidwell, Luongo, Freeman, Eze (12)
Top-scorers (all comps): Eze (3), Wszolek, Freeman (2)
Carabao Cup run: 3rd Rd, L 2-0 Blackpool (a)
Loanees: Cameron (Stoke), Hemed (Brighton), Wells (Burnley)
9 – QPR have scored the joint fewest goals in the Championship
12 – Luke Chambers is Town’s only league ever-present
• Town have won back-to-back games once in 2018 (Preston and Sheffield Weds, both away, in February)
• The Blues have won just two of their last 19 home games in all competitions (W2 D10 L7 F12 A23)
IPSWICH TOWN TEAM NEWS
• There has been a bout of illness in the Ipswich camp during the international break, with captain Luke Chambers one of those being monitored.
• Paul Hurst is hopeful a mystery player, who suffered an injury in training this week, will be fit to play.
• Andre Dozzell and Trevoh Chalobah are both in good shape having spent time with England Under-20s during the break.
• Hurst must decide whether to recall Danish left-back Jonas Knudsen after he was dropped to the bench at Swansea.
• Freddie Sears is likely to continue in attack after an impressive display at the Liberty Stadium.
• Tom Adeyemi is set for Achilles surgery, while Teddy Bishop and Emyr Huws are still out.
QPR TEAM NEWS
• Jake Bidwell went off injured in Rangers’ draw with Derby last time out and is likely to miss out. Pawal Wszolek could come in as part of a reshuffle.
• Nahki Wells has yet to score in his eight games since joining on loan from Burnley but continues to offer a good outlet in attack. Tomer Hemed, on loan from Brighton, is an option from the bench.
• Former Ipswich loanee Massimo Luongo will start in midfield.
KEY OPPOSITION MAN
The homegrown England U20 attacker – who can play wide right or as a No.10 – burst on the scene at Loftus Road last season following an impressive loan spell at Wycombe and already has several Premier League clubs tracking his progress.
Ipswich Town 0 QPR 0
Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2017
A Boxing Day borefest. Teddy Bishop’s long-awaited first start of the year ended with him limping off on the verge of tears. Mick McCarthy subsequently admitted he was ‘happy to take the draw’ in the closing stages. Town had lost the earlier reverse fixture 2-1.
Ipswich Town 9/5
Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)
Ipswich Town 2 QPR 1
QPR have picked up and, in Wells, Eze and Freeman, have some dangerous attacking players. I’m still backing Town, with the pressure of getting that first win lifted, to get the job done.