TEAM NEWS: Tommy Smith a surprise absentee as Mick McCarthy’s forced to make three changes at Blackpool

Blackpool v Ipswich: Blues boss Mick McCarthy has been forced to make three changes to his starting line-up for this afternoon’s game at Blackpool.

The surprise omission is centre-back Tommy Smith. The Suffolk club have been working all week on a plan which would have enabled the 23-year-old to play at Bloomfield Road and then quickly jet off to meet his New Zealand international team mates at their training base in Los Angeles.

The All Whites play the first leg of their World Cup play-off against Mexico on Wednesday, with FIFA rules stating that players must be with their country by midnight local time (LA is eight hours behind GMT) tonight.

Right up until yesterday, Ipswich had looked the possibility of sharing the cost of a chartered flight for Smith – West Ham and Leicester paying for Winston Reid and Chris Wood respectively – but in the end, logistics and finances proved preventative.

Smith’s absence means that Luke Chambers returns to his favoured centre-back position, with Cole Skuse filling in at right-back.


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Carlos Edwards comes into the side at right-midfield, replacing Paul Anderson. The latter has not travelled after injuring his groin in training this week.

Jay Tabb is also back in the team, starting on the left, with Ryan Tunnicliffe moving into the middle.

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Tyrone Mings makes only his third appearance in the Football League, replacing the suspended Aaron Cresswell at left-back.

It brings an end to a run of seven games with an unchanged starting XI for the Blues. New signing Stephen Hunt is on the bench for Ipswich, as is ex-Blue Michael Chopra for the hosts.

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Skuse, Chambers, Berra, Mings; Edwards, Hyam, Tunnicliffe, Tabb; McGoldrick, Murphy.

Subs: Loach, Veseli, Hewitt, Wordsworth, Hunt, Nouble, Taylor.

BLACKPOOL (4-4-1-1): Gilks; Bishop, Broadfoot, Mackenzie, Orr; Ince, Golsing, Angel, Grant; Dobbie, Fuller.

Subs: Warner, Blackett, Zeegelaar, Delfouneso, Chopra, Davies, Tyson.

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