Scoreline doesn’t matter but performances do as Ipswich Town head to Colchester United

Ipswich Town striker Joe Garner tries an overhead kick in the Gillingham penalty area. Photo: PAGEPI

Ipswich Town striker Joe Garner tries an overhead kick in the Gillingham penalty area. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Scorelines may not matter during pre-season, but the manner of performances and the attitudes of players in friendlies, such as tonight’s at Colchester United, do. Chris Brammer looks ahead ​to the game in Essex.

Ipswich Manager Mick McCarthy is all smiles on the touchline at Peterborough with the club fitness c

Ipswich Manager Mick McCarthy is all smiles on the touchline at Peterborough with the club fitness coach Andy Liddell

Ipswich Town head to near neighbours Colchester United this evening, keen to maintain their impressive pre-season form.

Prior to the Blues’ 2-1 defeat at League One side Gillingham on Saturday, they had won at the Gills’ divisional rivals Peterborough United, 3-1, and defeated fellow third-tier side Southend United, 4-1, in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Playford Road – both good workouts.

Mick McCarthy’s men began their summer campaign with a 5-0 drubbing of Drogheda United, at the end of a week-long stay in Republic of Ireland but, playing against a team of youngsters and trialists, that was little more than a training exercise for the visitors.

Playing in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the Championship, starting at home to Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City a week on Saturday, will be totally different to tonight’s run-out at Colchester, but it will give new signings Dominic Iorfa, Jordan Spence and Bersant Celina another chance to build momentum, match fitness and an understanding of McCarthy’s tactics, while Joe Garner will look to continue his pre-season goalscoring streak.

Dominic Iorfa in action against Peterborough

Dominic Iorfa in action against Peterborough


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TAKING CENTRE STAGE

Young Flynn Downes will be handed another opportunity to stake a claim for a first-team spot on August 5, while Kevin Bru – seemingly out of the door at the start of pre-season – will be given another chance to work his way back into the manager’s thoughts, having looked assured at Gillingham and Peterborough.

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That duo will be keen to make an impact, especially given McCarthy currently has a number of missing players in the centre of midfield – Luke Hyam (ankle), Emyr Huws (calf/Achilles), Tom Adeyemi (illness) and Teddy Bishop (groin).

Two other players that have been sidelined, Cole Skuse (illness) and Andre Dozzell (hip) could make appearances at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, against a side, managed by former Blues defender John McGreal, that have won all five of their pre-season friendlies so far and are yet to concede a goal.

Ipswich Town striker Joe Garner tries an overhead kick in the Gillingham penalty area. Photo: PAGEPI

Ipswich Town striker Joe Garner tries an overhead kick in the Gillingham penalty area. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

McCarthy said on Saturday that a number of players who were given 20-minute cameos at Gillingham, would start in north Essex.

Webster and Iorfa, who can both also play at right-back, are almost certain starters at centre-half, while striker David McGoldrick, winger Danny Rowe and young full-back Myles Kenlock could also start against the League Two outfit.

BLUES GETTING SHIRTY

One notable absentee will be a player in the No.9 shirt, the Blues having ominously left the jersey, usually associated with an out-and-out striker, vacant when numbers were revealed yesterday.

A happy Joe Garner celebrates his second goal at Peterborough.

A happy Joe Garner celebrates his second goal at Peterborough.

Daryl Murphy and Leon Best both wore the shirt at Portman Road last season, and the fact it remains unfilled at such a late stage of pre-season suggests McCarthy is still looking to bring in a talismanic striker in the mould of the former, rather than the latter.

Transfer-listed Bru, meanwhile, has not been given a number, just 10 days before Town’s campaign begins.

The Mauritius international wore number 17 last season, which has now been given to former Macclesfield wideman Rowe, although the Paris-born midfielder, as earlier stated, may still have a future at the club, at least in the short-term, given the club’s current lack of options in that area.

Iorfa, on a season-long loan from Wolves, takes the number two shirt which was last worn by Steven Taylor, and Webster, who donned the number 15 shirt last term, takes the number 6 jersey vacated by Christophe Berra following his move to Hearts.

Another loan signing, Manchester City winger Bersant Celina, wears the number 11 shirt left by Brett Pitman, new striker Joe Garner will pull on the number 14 jersey, midfielder Adeyemi will wear 15 and his former Cardiff team-mate, Huws, will continue in the 44 shirt, he wore during his successful temporary spell in Suffolk last season.

Ipswich Town squad numbers: 1 Dean Gerken, 2 Dominic Iorfa, 3 Jonas Knudsen, 4 Luke Chambers, 5 Tommy Smith, 6 Adam Webster, 7 Teddy Bishop, 8 Cole Skuse, 10 David McGoldrick, 11 Bersant Celina, 12 Jordan Spence, 14 Joe Garner, 15 Tom Adeyemi, 17 Danny Rowe, 18 Grant Ward, 19 Luke Hyam, 20 Freddie Sears, 21 Flynn Downes, 22 Trystan Nydam, 23 Andre Dozzell, 24 Michael Crowe, 30 Myles Kenlock, 33 Bartosz Bialkowski, 44 Emyr Huws.

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