Date: 5th January 2018 at 6:12pm
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We have seen it before, and it might explain Ipswich Town’s poor showing in cup competitions but tomorrow afternoon at Portman Road, we can expect to see wholesale changes once again.

Now on other occasions, it has been reasonable to point an accusing finger in the general direction of manager Mick McCarthy but this time around, the changes are mainly enforced.

Grant Ward for example has been added to the extensive midfield injury list, after he suffered a tear to his groin at Fulham on Tuesday night and also unavailable is central defender Adam Webster, after he suffered an Achilles injury during the Ipswich Town v Derby County game recently.

On the brighter side, new Irish striker Aaron Drinan could make his debut from the bench but Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam are both still out sadly, and Cole Skuse is also struggling with that ankle injury, despite playing against Fulham.

But Luke Hyam will be selected apparently and so too with regular first choice keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who is currently interesting Crystal Palace apparently.

This tells me that our manager is serious about progressing in the competition because he has decided not to risk third choice goalie Michael Crowe, who is yet to make his first team bow and of course second string keeper Dean Gerken still has that hip problem which is keeping him out.

Luke Hyam will start the game despite having played just eight minutes since returning from a 19-month injury lay-off, with McCarthy hopeful the midfielder will last at least an hour, and he will probably needs to, given our current injury woes.

McCarthy explained his thinking. ‘Whether he`s ready or not, he is starting. He`s a fit, athletic lad who really looks after himself and I think the adrenaline will get him through. We`ll certainly get 60 minutes out of him – hopefully more! It`s lovely to have him back. We need him back because we`ve got such a shortage of midfield players and been fit over the last 18 months then we wouldn`t have brought in so many.’

Jake Wright could make his first start for Sheffield United since way back in November, with Daniel Lafferty, Caolan Lavery and Samir Carruthers also in line to feature at some point.

The last time these two sides met in the FA Cup, saw a seven-goal thriller at Bramall Lane in January 2003, with Sheffield United going three goals ahead and then Ipswich scored three goals in six minutes to level things up.

But it was Paul Peschisolido who scored the 89th-minute winner for Neil Warnock’s Blades. That was in the days of Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose and they got us back into the match against all the odds, only for us to fall at the final hurdle.

I will end on a miserable stat that I hope can be overturned tomorrow afternoon. Ipswich Town have not won an FA Cup match since way back in January 2010. They have drawn four and lost eight since that 2-1 win over Blackpool by the way.

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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