Date: 19th January 2016 at 4:12pm
Written by:

Being a Town supporter for many decades, it grieves me to sometimes have to use my head and not my heart when it comes to predicting the outcome of games.

Some of you might even suggest that it is sacrilege to even contemplate betting against the blues but when you look at the likely Tractor Boys line-up I think we go into this game as big underdogs. Six Hundred travelling supporters might think otherwise but of course that is their prerogative.

Portsmouth may be two divisions and 62 places below us in terms of league positions but they have had taken a football sabbatical which has extended to ten days, whilst Town have been wearing themselves out, trying to get championship points in the meantime.

There are of course other reasons to think that this 3rd round replay is a no win situation. Manager Mick McCarthy will field an experimental team, which will probably consist of Josh Emmanuel as right-back and Myles Kenlock at left-back with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal once again.

Youth will be the order of the day and we can expect to see Paul Digby given another chance to impress with the Blues in a centre back role; along with Polish defender Piotr Malarczyk I would suspect – although there is the possibility he might risk Smith?

There will be some regulars in the team and on the bench I would think and the most likely candidates are Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Tommy Oar who is desperate to start from the off.

What Town do not want is extra time – or worse still penalties but I do not think they need to be unduly concerned because I expect this game to be over well before then.

Portsmouth really want to win this game and they will be fielding a similar team to the one that performed so well at Portman Road and I expect the blues to go down with little more than a whimper.

If this is the case, then it will be the sixth season in a row that the blues have exited the competition at the 3rd round stage, which is hardly a record to be proud of.

As I said yesterday, I do sympathize with our manager here because he is fearful of fielding his best team because of the threat of injuries and the risk of over-exertion with another tough championship game coming up at St.Andrews on Saturday away to in-form Birmingham City.

There is another reason too for this experiment. This is the only chance for his fridge players to get some competitive football under their belts so it is easy to understand the logic here.

The sad reality however is that I cannot see this team gelling quickly enough or well enough to make a real impression and for that reason perhaps more than anything else, I can only see one winner and it won’t be Ipswich Town!

I do hope I am proved wrong though – even if I do lose a few bob!


Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich

 

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