Search

U's friendly will give us a few clues and could calm a few nerves

PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 July 2019

Ipswich Town fans at the Interwetten Cup in Germany last weekend. There are likely to be more than 2,000 Blues fans at Colchester tonight. Photo: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town fans at the Interwetten Cup in Germany last weekend. There are likely to be more than 2,000 Blues fans at Colchester tonight. Photo: Ross Halls

Archant

Ipswich Town take on Essex neighbours Colchester United at The Jobserve Community Stadium tonight (7.30pm). STUART WATSON previews the friendly action.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert may give a few clues towards his preferred starting line-up with his selection for tonight's friendly at Colchester. Photo: Ross HallsIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert may give a few clues towards his preferred starting line-up with his selection for tonight's friendly at Colchester. Photo: Ross Halls

WHO WILL GET EXTRA GAME TIME?
We're getting close to the stage of pre-season where the team for the opening day starts to take shape.

It's been mix and match sides in the three friendlies so far - a different team played in each half against Paderborn and then different teams playing the 45 minutes games against Fortuna Dusseldorf and Meppen at the Interwetten Cup - with the focus purely on getting minutes in everyone's legs.

MORE: Norwood is the joker in the Ipswich Town pack... but flick a switch and the striker is all business

Tonight, boss Paul Lambert may start to give a few players an hour or so before the sweeping changes occur.

Not that it will necessarily mean anything. Those that don't get an hour tonight may then get an hour at Notts County next Tuesday. It's at Cambridge United, a week tomorrow, when we'll truly get a good idea of what team the Blues boss has in mind for the League One opener at Burton on August 3.

Gwion Edwards could make his first pre-season outing tonight. Photo: Ross HallsGwion Edwards could make his first pre-season outing tonight. Photo: Ross Halls

WHO WILL STAKE THEIR CLAIM?

There look to be a few positions that are still up for grabs.

Who will get the nod in goal - new boy Tomas Holy or Bartosz Bialkowski? The latter was among the best keepers in the Championship a year ago following three superb seasons in succession. His form dipped badly during the relegation campaign and, after a move to Millwall collapsed, he was guilty of letting a routine shot squeeze through his hands at the near post last weekend.

MORE: Defender Kenlock signs new three-year contract with Ipswich Town

It also looks a toss up between Janoi Donacien and Josh Emmanuel for the right-back slot as it stands.

Then there's the fight between homegrown centre-backs Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba to claim the place of suspended skipper Luke Chambers at the Pirelli Stadium. They might even get the chance to partner each other at some stage tonight given Toto Nsiala injured his hamstring at the weekend.

Bartosz Bialkowski is battling new signing Tomas Holy for the goalkeeper position. Photo: Ross HallsBartosz Bialkowski is battling new signing Tomas Holy for the goalkeeper position. Photo: Ross Halls

WHAT WILL GARBUTT'S ROLE BE?

Luke Garbutt didn't feature at the Interwetten Cup as he'd only joined up with his new team-mates three days earlier.

Town's latest addition - signed on a season-long loan from Everton - has spent most of his career as a specialist left-back, but played his best football as a left-winger at Oxford United last season.

Lambert has said, cryptically, he has a role in mind for the 26-year-old. We should get an idea of that tonight.

Emyr Huws is working his way back to full fitness following a lengthy lay-off. Photo: Ross HallsEmyr Huws is working his way back to full fitness following a lengthy lay-off. Photo: Ross Halls

WILL WILSON PLAY?

Former Lincoln City defender James Wilson has been training with the Blues this week.

The 30-year-old had his contract terminated at Sincil Bank at the end of last season and is on the lookout for a new club.

MORE: Former Lincoln defender Wilson training with Ipswich Town

The one-cap Wales international, formerly of Bristol City, Oldham and Sheffield United, missed the start of last season with an ankle injury and subsequently struggled to get in the team as Danny Cowley's men stormed their way to the League Two title.

The Blues do look short of an experienced, versatile defender for the hectic campaign ahead.

James Wilson has been training with Ipswich Town after leaving Lincoln City. Picture: PAJames Wilson has been training with Ipswich Town after leaving Lincoln City. Picture: PA

WHO WILL MAKE THEIR COMEBACK?

Alan Judge, Jon Nolan and Gwion Edwards have all been limited with what they can do in pre-season thus far.

Judge broke his wrist playing for the Republic of Ireland at the start of June. The protective cast is off, he has been taking part in non-contact parts of training and is now nearing the targeted six week point of his recovery.

MORE: Big interview: Tomas Holy on battling with Bart, basketball beginnings and the idol you won't have heard of

Edwards has a groin issue that dogged him throughout the second half of last season. He's often done work with the physios instead of the first-team, but is making good progress and could feature tonight.

Luke Garbutt is set to make his first appearance for Ipswich Town at his former loan club Colchester tonight. Photo: Ross HallsLuke Garbutt is set to make his first appearance for Ipswich Town at his former loan club Colchester tonight. Photo: Ross Halls

Nolan has still not fully recovered from the calf problem that sidelined him for the final seven games of last season. It seems like his comeback may be a little more delayed.

CAN TOWN AVOID ANY MORE INJURIES?

The news that Teddy Bishop, Toto Nsiala and Jack Lankester will all miss the start of the season due to injury comes as a real blow to the Blues.

All three were in the frame to start at Burton but will now be missing due to the injuries they suffered in Meppen on Sunday.

It was feared Bishop could have suffered cruciate knee ligament damage and be sidelined for a year but will instead be missing for three months with medial damage, while Toto Nsiala's torn hamstring and Jack Lankester's back problem mean they will not be available for several weeks.

MORE: Triple injury blow for Blues with Bishop, Nsiala and Lankester ruled out for start of season

Town could really do without the injury curse, which has hung over them over the last two years, striking any more over the coming days given the squad has been trimmed greatly.

Emyr Huws, who has not featured for the first team since December 2017, has got through two lots of 45 minutes unscathed thus far and says he's feeling good.

There have been failed comebacks before, though, and he will need to be managed carefully as he works towards a return to competitive action.

CAN A LID BE KEPT ON ANY NERVES?

Town have been given an extended ticket allocation for tonight's game at the Jobserve Community Stadium and there will be in excess of 2,000 away supporters in attendance.

Many won't have been to Germany. Yes, the standard of opposition was high, but many, understandably, will be concerned of reports that sloppy goals were conceded and chances not taken - two recurring themes during the relegation campaign.

MORE: 'I'm just delighted to be back out there with an Ipswich shirt on' - Huws can't wait for season to start

There was a perverse feelgood factor surrounding the club on their way to the drop, but the Blues could really do with getting that winning feeling back over the coming days to ensure no sense of jitters - on or off the pitch - grows ahead of the big kick-off.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists