It’s only a month since Town knocked Millwall out of the Carling Cup, but now it’s the Lions turn to hit the road hoping to deal a knockout blow to the Blues’ Championship ambitions.
Ipswich and Millwall have had similar fortunes so far this season. After both enjoying strong starts to the Championship campaign, both have since suffered slumps – Town’s recent run of three straight losses has left them in 14th with just one win in their last six, while the Londoners, despite sitting in 9th, are just one point ahead. Ipswich might have made the Quarter-Finals of the Carling Cup since claiming victory at the Lion’s Den in September, but with Roy Keane’s side desperate to return to winning ways in the league, Millwall now have the opportunity to exact damaging revenge on Town’s own turf.
The challenge for Town won’t be an easy one either. It’s no secret that the Blues have struggled to find enough goals in recent matches, and they now come up against a Millwall side that has conceded just 2 goals in their last 5 games. Millwall aren’t exactly in rich scoring form themselves however, netting only 4 times in 5 outings on the road since their 3-0 win at Bristol City on the opening day. With both Town and Millwall tied on 15 wins each in previous competitive meetings between the two sides, a deadlock over 90 minutes on Saturday is certainly not unthinkable. If the Blues want to spark their league campaign back to life however, Keane surely will not be happy with just a point – and, for sure, neither will the fans…
Ipswich boss Roy Keane wants to see a significant improvement from his team on their return to league action, particularly in the first half.
‘We need to start better,’ he told local reporters in East Anglia ahead of the game; ‘Four games in a row we have gone behind, we have to start sharper and quicker. We can’t keep giving ourselves mountains to climb, we must cut out the mistakes.’
Easier said than done for a team that has still only scored one goal in the first half of any league match this season. Town did put two past Millwall in the first half in the Carling Cup however, and having done the same thing against Northampton on Tuesday, perhaps the Blues can get out of the blocks quicker on Saturday.
Ipswich Town Team News:
Connor Wickham, who was expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks having missed the match against Northampton, has made a surprise recovery from his ankle injury and could be named in Roy Keane’s lineup for Saturday. Mark Kennedy also returns from his spell out with a hamstring problem, while Grant Leadbitter has also been declared fit despite suffering a knee injury during Tuesday’s match. Luciano Civelli scored for the reserves in a 2-2 draw at Stevenage in midweek as he continues his long-awaited comeback but could have difficulty breaking back into the side, while Alan Quinn is still awaiting his return from a groin injury. Jake Livermore and Jack Colback are likely to feature having been ineligible for the cup tie, while Tamas Priskin could be recalled up front after scoring against the Cobblers.
Player to watch: Andros Townsend
Town fans and Kenny Jackett’s team alike would be well advised to keep an eye on Andros Townsend if he starts on Saturday. The pacy winger caused Northampton plenty of trouble on Tuesday night, not least having launched the set-piece from which Damien Delaney put Town ahead. Millwall also struggled to deal with Townsend in the Carling Cup tie at The Den in September when he set up both goals. The Spurs loanee linked up particularly well with Tamas Priskin throughout that night in London, so should they both be included this weekend, here’s hoping the results prove similarly productive.
Millwall Team News:
As with the Carling Cup tie in September, Kevin Lisbie is not eliigible for Millwall’s trip to Portman Road under the terms of his loan agreement from Ipswich. However, ex-Blues Scott Barron and Liam Trotter could feature. Former Bolton defender Danny Shittu has recovered after pulling up with cramp in the win over Derby and should return, while veteran striker Neil Harris could make his comeback in place of Lisbie after missing the last two matches with an ankle problem.
Player to watch: Scott Barron
Town are desperately in need of more goals in the league but could find it hard to break down a strong Millwall back line which includes a former Blue. This time we’ve chosen Scott Barron as our man to watch for the visitors in this game having become a regular presence in the Lions’ defence since leaving Portman Road in 2007. The versatile 25-year-old, who has occasionally been employed in midfield by Kenny Jackett, can also provide a threat up front having scored twice this season, his last goal coming in Millwall’s 1-1 draw against Burnley at the start of October.
CC3 – Millwall 1-2 Ipswich
21 September 2010
Millwall: Morison 62
Ipswich: Priskin 23, McAuley 45+3
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, P Robinson, Craig, Barron, Mkandawire, Trotter, Schofield (Ward 58), Hackett, Henry (Harris 59), Morison
Ipswich: Murphy, Peters, McAuley, Delaney, Eastman, Townsend (Leadbitter 53), Hyam, Healy (Scotland 54), Lambe, Kennedy, Priskin (Wickham 64)
I might regret saying this, but surely the losing run can’t continue much longer? I must say I am a little more optimistic after the Cup win over Northampton, but Millwall will likely provide a much sterner test by comparison and we really do need to get off the mark quickly if we are to avoid going behind again and hopefully put this bad form behind us. Anything can happen on the day though, and after all, if we were able to beat them at The Den…
Prediction: With any luck, a happy return to winning (and scoring) ways in the league. Ipswich 2-0 Millwall.
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