Date: 4th January 2018 at 5:45pm
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Sometimes in football, as in life itself, we all need a convenient distraction and the visit to Portman Road of Championship high-flyers Sheffield United in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup on Saturday, could be just what Town need!

This will take the players minds off their current onfield woes and focus their minds instead on a good cup run.

Unfortunately manager Mick McCarthy has not had much luck in the cup with the Blues, and once again this weekend, he will be forced to field a weakened team.

There is nothing new in that this season however, given the extraordinary amount of injuries Town have incurred throughout, and it continued against Fulham, where midfielder Grant Ward pulled up and had to be replaced.

But amidst all this depression there is some light shining down on us and it comes in the form of our latest signing Aaron Drinan, who is from Irish side Waterford, and has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract.

This kid has a bright future in the game and now that all the paperwork is completed, there is every chance we will get to see him in the F.A. Cup – although his lack of game time will probably mean he will have to start from the bench.

Third choice keeper Town keeper Michael Crowe might be in from the start, as Crystal Palace continue to show interest in our number one Bartosz Bialkowski, and with Dean Gerken out with a hip problem, it looks increasingly likely that the 22 year old will make his debut.

Luke Hyam came on against Fulham in a game we would all like to forget but as he said himself, getting back into the side felt like it was his Ipswich Town baptism again!

He explained, ‘I felt like an 18-year-old kid again, making a second debut, just because I had been out for such a long time. It was a bit surreal, being back, and it was all a bit weird, preparing for a game and doing the warm-up, so to get on was a real bonus.’

I saw Hyam make his debut at just 18 against PSV Eindhoven here in the Netherlands, in a game dedicated to celebrating the life of Sir Bobby Robson. It was a pre-season friendly but that did not stop him getting booked, as Town went down by a single goal.

Hyam is now 26 years of age and if it had not been for a series of debilitating injuries, he would surely have notched up a couple of hundred games.

He had been out of action for a staggering 605 days before he came on at Fulham, but he is a local lad and supporters will be hoping that at long last he can stay injury free.

I feel sure manager Mick McCarthy will rest a number of his first team squad but so too might Sheffield United and with home advantage, I would not write off Town’s chances of going through.

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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