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The Preview: Ipswich Town v Blues

Posted: Fri 28 Feb 2014
Author: bcfc.com
Image by: Pete Stanley

bcfc.com previews Saturday's Sky Bet Championship game against the Tractor Boys at Portman Road (3pm kick-off).

Lee Clark’s reflections on last week’s win at Blackpool…
“I was very pleased with the way we came back and won it. We started the game quite well in the first ten minutes and looked bright. But for whatever reason we went on the back foot a little bit and allowed Blackpool to take the initiative and in that period they scored. Then just before half-time we came strong again. I felt that if we pursued the attacking possibilities a bit more strongly we would give them one or two problems. So we just tweaked one or two things. We brought Nikola Zigic on and that gave us a front two and then matched them up in the middle of the pitch with a bit of a diamond and I thought the lads took to it really well. In the second half we scored two but we had other chances where we could have made it three or four so I think all in all we were worthy winners.”

Clark on Jonathan Spector’s return to action against Blackpool following his long injury lay-off…
“Jonathan returning was a big boost for us and I thought he was great. He’s a different type of right-back to Paul Caddis. Paul is a more attack-minded full-back that likes to get up and support Chris (Burke). Jonathan is more stay at home and be solid defensively and I felt that was maybe what we needed in the game on Saturday. But there are other possibilities for Paul because he’s played higher up the pitch, etc.”

Clark on Liverpool loanee Jordon Ibe…
“He’s very strong, powerful and direct. He wants to take people on and be positive and get shots off. We’re looking forward to working with him and we’re excited by him, tempered with the fact he’s really young we’ll be careful with him. But we know there’s an extremely talented young man there.” 

Clark on Blues’ away form, which has seen them lose just two of their last ten games on the road…
“It’s a good run and the last loss at Watford was undeserved. We were by far the dominant team in the second half and we deserved to get something from that game. I’m delighted with our away form and hopefully it can continue with a tough game away at Ipswich.”

Clark’s thoughts on Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy…
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a manager who has managed at the highest level for both club and country and been very successful. He’s a top manager and he’s proved it over many years. He’s also a manager who I look up to immensely, but obviously I want to get one over on him on Saturday. I’ve played against him three times now. Ipswich did the double over us last year and we got the draw at St. Andrew’s earlier this season, but we know any game against a team managed by Mick is going to be really tough.” 

Clark’s take on the Ipswich players…
“They’re extremely well-organised and hard to beat. They’re a big, powerful team and they are a threat from set plays They also have a tremendous work ethic, so we’ll have to match that. They’re just on the fringes of the play-offs and that is probably one of the standout achievements of the Championship because Mick hasn’t been extravagant in terms of spending. He’s just recruited really well and got players that he knows will do a very good job for him.”

Blues team news...
Mitch Hancox will miss the game after accidentally tripping and injuring his ankle on Thursday. Albert Rusnak is out with a slight groin problem. Jonathan Spector has a severe black eye, after being elbowed against Blackpool, but is fit and available. Chris Burke has also recovered from the blow that saw him substituted late on against the Tangerines. Callum Reilly will miss the game after failing to recover from a knee problem. Brian Howard has a fracture in his little toe, but should be fit after being given time to recover from it. Reece Brown had a swollen ankle, but has returned to training and will have a late fitness test. Matt Green (knee), David Murphy (knee), Akwasi Asante (hamstring) and Neal Eardley (knee) remain sidelined.

Betting...
If you want to place a bet on the game, use Sky Bet and they will give a share of the revenue back to Blues. Plus sign-up now and get a free matched bet up to £30. Just click here. Looking to Saturday's game at Portman Road, a Blues win is priced at 11/4, the draw at 9/4 and an Ipswich victory at 1/1.

 Stat pack...
- There have been 72 league and cup meetings between the teams. Ipswich have the upper hand with 32 wins, Blues 27 and 13 have been drawn.
- The corresponding fixture at St. Andrew's in August ended in a 1-1 draw. Christophe Berra gave Ipswich a first-half lead, before Chris Burke scored the equaliser for Blues late on.
- Blues' biggest win at Portman Road was a 5-1 success in November 1962 in the old First Division.
- Blues' last victory at Portman Road came in a Championship fixture in December 2008. James McFadden scored the only goal in the 1-0 win.
- Of the current Sky Bet Championship clubs, Ipswich are the longest serving, as this is their 12th consecutive season at this level.
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