Date: 8th January 2016 at 6:00pm
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Mick McCarthy named his team to Ipswich Player early this afternoon – even before his press conference and there were some pleasant surprises I am pleased to report.

The most delightful perhaps is the return from the wilderness of Polish keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who has been terribly unlucky to be out in the cold for so long.

Perhaps it is a bit churlish of me to suggest that if the sad passing of his father had occurred during an international break, he may never have lost his place but he bears no grudges for the success of Dean Gerken. On the contrary, he is delighted for him which says everything about the man.

‘Dean took my place and he has been in absolutely fantastic form since coming back into the team. We are training every day with each other and we are very close. Last season he was always there for me, supporting me and now I am doing exactly the same for him. I truly like him, he`s a really good guy and there in no animosity between us, even of the press and supporters may think otherwise.’

He said that is was good to be back in the team though and he was determined to prove to everyone just what they had been missing.

‘It has been a difficult and frustrating time for me so I will be happy to be playing again,” he explained at the press conference.

There are seven changes in all from the team that faced Burnley at Turf Moor and out of the side go strikers Freddie Sears and Daryl Murphy and in comes Brett Pitman and Luke Varney!

McCarthy explained his thinking behind the new look side, ‘Brett Pitman`s played most of the games, Reg has been on the bench, Ainsley`s played most of the games, Tommy Oar`s been in the squad all season and Luke Hyam played Saturday, Skusey played Saturday, so did both full-backs. Bart, if I listened to everybody, should never have been out of the team anyway!

I could not agree more Mick but I do not pick the team. I pleased however to also see a new look central defensive partnership of Piotr Malarczyk (another discarded Pole ) and the new kid on the block, loanee Paul Digby and Tommy Oar also comes into the side which should add a bit more spice to proceedings.

Our manager argues that this is not a weakened team and consists not of youngsters but important squad players, who because of good form and few injuries have not made it into the team too often.

The only question mark is that with so many changes will the blues be able to gel quickly and do we lack a bit of pace down the flanks with the absence of Ryan Fraser but Tommy Oar might compensate for this one hopes.

This is however an excellent opportunity for some of the fringe players to make a name for themselves and remind Mick McCarthy of just what they are capable of!

In a long old season these players must prove they can step up to the plate and that is why I think he has chosen wisely this time.

I predict a 3-1 win to the Tractor Boys with Brett Pitman and Luke Hyam getting on the scoresheet.

The Ipswich Town team :

Bialkowski,Knudsen,Chambers,Skuse,Digby,Malarczyk,Oar,Hyam,Pitman,Varney, Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich


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