Ipswich Town have dished out very few cupsets in recent years... Could another hoodoo be broken tonight?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 September 2020
Ipswich Town take on Fulham in a Carabao Cup second round tie at Portman Road tonight (7pm), STUART WATSON previews the action.
QUICKFIRE CUP ACTION
Any lower league team that goes on a Carabao Cup run this season will require one or two of the energy drinks made by the competition’s sponsors given the first four rounds have all been squeezed into the opening month of a truncated campaign.
Ipswich negotiated round one comfortably, Freddie Sears (2) and Luke Chambers scoring in a 3-0 win against League One rivals Bristol Rovers.
Tonight, they face a far tougher test at Portman Road in the form of newly-promoted Premier League side Fulham.
Get through – and we’ll assess their chances shortly – and another home tie awaits next Tuesday night, against the winners of last night’s game between Rochdale (League One) and Sheffield Wednesday (Championship).
Win that and, all of a sudden, the Blues would be preparing for a last 16 tie on Tuesday, September 29. They haven’t been that far since Roy Keane’s men went on to lose to Arsenal in a two-legged semi-final back at the start of 2011.
Perhaps, however, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
Town far from disgraced themselves in pre-season friendlies against strong Premier League opposition.
Against both Tottenham (whose team included Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Deli Alli and Son Heung-min) and West Ham (whose team included the likes of Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson) they played some encouraging stuff.
The top teams are clinical though and Ipswich’s teething problems were ruthlessly punished as they were defeated 3-0 and 4-1 respectively.
Town got away with several lapses in concentration at the back in Sunday’s 2-0 win against Wigan, but are unlikely to find Fulham as generous.
PACKED WITH QUALITY
It was a case of ‘welcome back to the Premier League’ for Fulham at the weekend as they were swept aside 3-0 at Craven Cottage by a dominant Arsenal.
Scott Parker is likely to make changes to his team tonight and those who come in will see this as an opportunity to secure a starting spot for this Saturday’s trip to Leeds.
Indications are that four new signings are in line to make their debuts.
Alphonse Areola is a Spanish keeper on loan from Paris Saint Germain, Kenny Tete is a Dutch international right-back formerly of Ajax and Lyon, Ola Aina is a versatile Nigerian international on loan from Torino, while Mario Lemina is a Gabon international midfielder on loan from Southampton (the Saints having signed him from Juventus for a club record fee of £15.4m).
There’s every chance that talismanic Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will start after he made a cameo display last weekend, while the same applies to Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, a player who Fulham reportedly rejected a £22.5m bid for from Villarreal this summer.
Will the likes of Michael Hector, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Anthony Knockaert, Tom Cairney, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Aboubakar Kamara be rested? If they are, the door would be open for established players like Cyrus Christie, Maxime Le Marchand, Bobby Reid, Denis Odoi, Joe Bryan, Stefan Johansen, Josh Onomah, Neeskens Kebano and Ivan Cavaleiro to step in.
Whatever starting XI Parker goes with, it will be packed with quality.
CUPSETS IN SHORT SUPPLY
Ipswich have been on the receiving end of plenty of cupsets in recent years, but caused very few of their own.
The Blues have faced Premier League opposition 17 times since their own relegation from the top-flight in 2002. Their record in those cup games reads: W3 D1 L13.
Those victories came against Middlesbrough (League Cup third round, 02/03), West Brom (League Cup quarter-finals, 10/11) and Arsenal (League Cup semi-finals, first leg, 10/11). The draw was against Southampton (FA Cup third round, 14/15).
Along the way there have been losses to Liverpool, Arsenal (twice), Manchester United, Chelsea (twice), Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Wigan, Bolton, Watford, Southampton and Portsmouth.
Having banished their TV hoodoo at the weekend, maybe it’s time another unwanted record falls?
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Including pre-season, this is a seventh game in 25 days for Town off the back of a five-month break from action. As is the case for many clubs up and down the land, deconditioned bodies are breaking down under a heavy load.
Aaron Drinan (thigh) has now joined Kane Vincent-Young (Achilles), Luke Woolfenden (groin), Kayden Jackson (groin), Cole Skuse (knee) and Jack Lankester (concussion) in the treatment room.
James Norwood (groin) and Oli Hawkins (foot) are slowly being brought back up to speed, while you’d imagine Town will also carefully manage with the load placed on the likes of Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell given neither are used to long runs in the side. It also remains to be seen how long veteran full-backs Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward can keep up the Saturday-Tuesday schedule.
With Saturday’s long trip to Bristol Rovers in mind, expect at least five or six changes to the team that started Sunday’s 2-0 win. There’s every chance we’ll see the likes of David Cornell, Janoi Donacien, Myles Kenlock, Emyr Huws and Gwion Edwards come into the side, possibly even Idris El Mizouni and/or Armando Dobra too.
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