Against who will Paul Hurst’s first win come? A look at Ipswich Town’s next six games
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Ipswich Town have claimed two points from their opening six Championship games. STUART WATSON looks at the six fixtures between now and the next international break.
HULL CITY (a)
Sat, Sept 15 (3pm)
Current position: 21st
Coincidentally the Tigers have played virtually the same set of league fixtures as Town at the start of the season and have just one more point on the board.
The East Yorkshire side’s sole league win came at Rotherham, with their other point coming from a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.
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They have lost all three home games – against Aston Villa, Blackburn and Derby – scoring just twice in four outings on home soil across all competitions, with the atmosphere at the KC Stadium already a little toxic.
Reflecting on the recent 2-1 defeat to the Rams, under pressure manager Nigel Adkins insisted: “The passion was there for all to see, the quality was there for all to see and the team spirit was there.”
Suffolk-born former Norwich striker Chris Martin (on loan from Derby) and Brighton loan defender Tommy Elphick could make their debuts this weekend.
Tues, Sept 18 (7.45pm)
Current position: 5th
The Bees have played some scintillating football at Griffin Park, beating Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest. They will, however, arrive at Portman Road without an away league win to their name following draws against Stoke and Aston Villa, as well as a defeat at Blackburn.
Manager Dean Smith wasn’t happy after the 1-0 loss at Ewood Park. He said: “I don’t think the pitch was conducive for good football. They’ll probably put the horses out there later to graze. The defeat’s a tough one to take.”
Five-goal top-scorer Neal Maupay was suspended for the last three matches but is available again for Saturday’s visit of Wigan.
BOLTON WDRS (H)
Sat, Sept 22 (3pm)
Current position: 8th
After narrowly avoiding the drop last season and being under a transfer embargo most of the summer, Bolton have got off to a surprisingly good start.
Phil Parkinson’s men started with victory at West Brom and have also beaten Reading (a) and Birmingham (h) – all by a single goal. There have been 2-2 draws with Bristol City (h) and Preston (a), with the sole league defeat coming at home to Sheffield United (3-0).
Off-field drama has not gone away though and, on Tuesday, they just about avoided going into administration and being handed a 12-point deduction.
Speaking after the recent two-goal fight back at Deepdale, Parkinson said: “I think the squad is stronger this year, we’ve got more players with Championship experience.”
BIRMINGHAM CITY (A)
Sat, Sept 29 (3pm)
Current position: 20th
Following last season’s 19th place finish, the Midlands club appointed Garry Monk as their new boss. Like Paul Hurst, he is yet to taste his first victory in charge following four draws and three defeats across all competitions.
Speaking after the recent dour goalless at home to QPR – their fifth goalscoring blank in seven – Monk said: “We badly need that first win as we know that in previous games we have done more than enough to have got three points. Looking at the six games so far it will not deter us from what we are doing.”
Tues, Sept 2 (7.45pm)
Current position: 2nd
Tony Pulis has put together a typically organised and physical team that is dangerous from set-pieces. They remain undefeated in all competitions with five wins and three draws, including a recent goalless affair at leaders Leeds.
Aden Flint, Paddy McNair and Jordan Hugill all arrived over the summer, while George Saville and Danny Batth have recently been added on loan.
Speaking after a 1-0 win against his former club West Brom, Pulis said: “Our two centre-halves (Dael Fry and Aden Flint) look a good pair, the five in midfield again worked really, really hard, while Stewart Downing was always a threat down the right-hand side.”
SWANSEA CITY (A)
Sat, Oct 6 (3pm)
Current position: 7th
It’s been a reasonable start for the Welsh side following relegation and a summer of cost cutting under new manager Graham Potter, the former Ostersund boss who Town interviewed.
They’ve beaten Sheffield United (a), Preston (h) and Millwall (a), all by single goal margins, drawn with Birmingham (a) and Leeds (h), with the sole league defeat coming narrowly at Bristol City.
The likes of Alfie Mawson, Jordan Ayew, Kyle Bartley, Sam Clucas and Lukasz Fabianski were flogged this summer, with former Town loan star Bersant Celina the biggest addition at £3m from Manchester City.