Date: 3rd January 2015 at 7:09pm
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When Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was living in the Netherlands as a boy, he would always watch the F.A.Cup final. To him and a lot of other Dutch football fans, the final at Wembley was a bit special.

Those memories are still very vivid for the Dutchman, who hopes he can take his Southampton side all the way to the final, where he could confront another man from Holland, if Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United get there too?

But before all that, his Saints side must overcome in-form Ipswich Town tomorrow afternoon and with a sell-out crowd and around 6,000 Town supporters making the trip it promises to be an exciting affair!

In previous years against Premier opposition, the blues have failed to make much of an impression and they are coming into this at a time that the home team have again found some form.

The good news for the blues however is that they too are on fire at the moment and their away record this season has been very good.

Much perhaps will depend on which team both clubs put out? Koeman has threatened to play his strongest team and Mick McCarthy is also plotting to field a side that can hold their own against the big boys from the Premiership – although I suspect that both David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy will be on the bench for this encounter.

At the back it will be interesting to see if he includes Tyrone Mings who is fit again at the expense of Jonathan Parr?

If he does then it will be a signal to most supporters of his determination to keep the player. When he has been cup-tied he is slightly less of an attraction to the big fish in the football ocean, although if he leaves he would not play every game.

Teddy Bishop too is rumoured to be attracting the attention of a number of top flight clubs and once again if he plays tomorrow it might tell us a little more about the long term strategy of the club. Should he stay or should he go?

Ironically, it was David McGoldrick that we had to hang on to tenaciously in the last transfer window and yet the headline maker on the goal scoring front for Town since has been Daryl Murphy!

I think that Mick McCarthy will play Cameron Stewart tomorrow along perhaps with Alex Henshall. Stephen Hunt will play from the start along with Luke Hyam I would have thought.

With the blues boss though you just never know. In our last three league matches he has played the same side so the only thing we can say with absolute certainty about his selection tomorrow is that there will be changes.

The boss has already said that Dean Gerken will start in goal and I expect that Darren Ambrose will get a start as well. I hope so anyway because he is one for the big occasion and has seen it, done it and got the T shirt!

Whatever the result tomorrow we simply cannot lose. Personally I think we can get a draw and take them back to Portman Road but it could be argued that this is the worst case scenario as it means an extra game to be added to our already cluttered fixture list.

I guess we could all live with that though – even perhaps the gaffer!


Frank Weston – Editor Vital Ipswich

 

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