Due to injuries and a loss of form, manager Paul Lambert will be forced to reshuffle his pack again this evening, as Town confront Hull City at Portman Road. In their last encounter, at home to lowly Shrewsbury Town, Town lost two more midfielders when Jon Nolan was forced off with a groin strain, and later in the game, Teddy Bishop limped off too.
In came Jack Lankester and Emyr Huws, and they both performed well when they were introduced, and it looks likely that they will play from the outset this evening, and there may be a place for local lad Luke Woolfenden, who might replace Mark McGuinness in central defence. McGuinness looked surprisingly edgy against the Shrews, and there is not much to choose between the two of them – not just in their style of play, but also their age. I am surprised that Woolfenden has not been included in the team of late because he is one of our own and is an accomplished defender at this level.
It will be good to see Brett McGavin continue in his deep-lying midfield role, and I expect that Armando Dobra will play some part. If Lambert is brave enough, he might just include him in the team at the expense of Alan Judge. The Irishman is a trier that’s for sure, but that is just about all he is. He frustrates me enormously, as he constantly loses the ball in promising positions and runs around like a headless chicken for the most part. Yes, his heart is in the right place but his body invariably isn’t! Freddie Sears is also completely wasted out on the wing.
In attack, Oliver Hawkins might be thrown into the mix and James Norwood will be champing at the bit to be involved from the start as well. I have a suspicion that Lambert might bench warm Kayden Jackson for this one and rely on his pace as the game progresses. Town will need to replace lethargy with energy this evening, and they would be wise to follow the instructions of the gaffer and be much more clinical and decisive upfront.
Our record against the league leaders is exceedingly poor. In our last 13 encounters spanning several seasons, we have lost 10 and drawn just three, and you have to go back to 2007-08 to find us winning, and that was a narrow 1-0 victory. Our performances against high ranked teams both this season and last have also been hugely disappointing but a win tonight could clearly change all that.
Grant McCann, was appointed Hull City manager in late June of last year after they were relegated from the Championship and he is expecting a testing game in Suffolk tonight. ” It’ll be a tough game down there. They’re a team near the top end of the table, like ourselves. They’ve got a good manager in Paul Lambert, and they play a similar way to us.” Let us hope he is right!