Untried centre-back pairing gets Ipswich Town fans’ vote to start against Birmingham City

Adam Webster battles with Bristol City's Aaron Wilbraham last season.

Adam Webster battles with Bristol City's Aaron Wilbraham last season.

Ipswich Town fans want to see the untried centre-half partnership of Luke Chambers and Adam Webster start the Blues’ Championship opener against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Almost 600 supporters, at the time of publication, had taken part in the Ipswich Star’s interactive poll to decide the Town line-up, likely to be a 4-4-2 formation, for the clash against Harry Redknapp’s men.

Webster and Chambers have yet to start a league game together at the heart of the Blues’ defence in a 4-4-2 line-up, given the former’s injury problems last season and the presence of now-departed defender, Christophe Berra, but have played alongside each other in a three.

Despite that, 61 per cent of fans have opted for the two right-footers, with only five per cent voting for Chambers and natural left-footer Tommy Smith to partner each other, something they have done on 47 occasions previously.

Saturday’s 6-1 defeat at Charlton may have swayed some voters with Town 4-0 down at the break, Mick McCarthy having started with Smith and Chambers, the latter recently conceding to being a little behind on his fitness, due to a bout of tonsillitis this summer.


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Smith is not the only fans’ favourite to miss out, with Freddie Sears the odd man out in attack.

That leaves David McGoldrick and new signing Joe Garner, partnering each other in attack, should McCarthy fail to bring in a fresh face before Saturday, just as they did briefly at Nottingham Forest, almost a decade ago.

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A total of 68 per cent want to see McGoldrick and Garner up top, with only three per cent picking Sears and McGoldrick, who have scored 13 goals in 20 games as a strike partnership at Ipswich.

Sears and Garner have similar goal records in the Championship, both having scored 22 goals – the former in 153 games and the latter in 133. McGoldrick, meanwhile, has netted 54 times in 251 second tier games.

Elsewhere, a huge 99 per cent favour Bartosz Bialkowski in goal, with Dominic Iorfa (52 per cent) and Myles Kenlock (78 per cent) getting the nods in the full-back positions.

In midfield, given Town’s injury and illness problems there right now, the experienced Cole Skuse and rookie, Flynn Downes are the most popular combination to start (38 per cent), leaving Grant Ward to play on the right-wing and Bersant Celina to make his debut on the left.

Celina should be fit, having recovered from illness, but Town are set to be without new signings Tom Adeyemi (illness) and Emyr Huws (Achilles) who, if available, would have been in serious contention to be McCarthy’s first choice pairing in the centre of midfield.

Fellow central midfielders Luke Hyam (ankle) and Teddy Bishop (groin) remain sidelined.

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