Date: 1st December 2016 at 4:34pm
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Normally the only time manager Mick McCarthy names his team in advance of a match, is in the League Cup and that is usually only to outline which of his fringe players will get a game.

This time however, he has taken the unusual step of naming an unchanged team for the visit to Bristol City at the weekend and this in a Sky Bet Championship fixture!

The positive side of it is of course that there are no new injury worries for the Blues and even some of our long term sick notes such as Brett Pitman are also on the mend.

Our manager told the press why he decided to break with tradition.

‘ I think sometimes it just requires that. I don`t normally, I’m not going to try and dress it up. But if, like we did last week, you find a formula that works and works well, what`s the point in trying to dress it up. That`s the team, he knows what to expect,’ (referring to Bristol City manager Lee Johnson.)

It was indeed a good result last Saturday when we took on QPR at Portman Road but there was a large chunk of good fortune about it as McCarthy fairly indicated afterwards.

All three goals had the ‘luck of the Irish’ about them and it was only when we got a foothold in the game that we started to fully express ourselves, as QPR disintegrated just as quickly, after some major errors by their keeper Alex Smithies.

In fairness, he went a long way to redeeming himself later but the damage was already done.

But the 4-4-2 formula has served Mick McCarthy well over the years so it makes sound sense to retain it I guess – especially away from Portman Road.

So then what can we expect this time I wonder? Another sluggish start – or will we race out of the blocks with renewed confidence because after we took a commanding lead against Rangers, we could have scored a bagfull. The fact that we didn’t, is perhaps even greater cause for concern?

This means that Cole Skuse and Jonathan Douglas will stay in midfield in holding roles, accompanied by a more attack-minded Grant Ward and Tom Lawrence.

The defence is same old and that consists of Bartosz Bailkowski in goal, Jonas Knudsen at left back, Luke Chambers at right back; with central defenders Adam Webster and Christophe Berra.

Up front we will see a goal-hungry Luke Varney alongside David McGoldrick, who is trying to find his goal scoring touch again.

The bench was strong last week but McCarthy may be inclined to tweak it a little, given the fact that we are playing away.

I would hope however that he keeps both Freddie Sears and Leon Best on bench warming duties, along with Jonny Williams, who always has a goal in him.

Another win and it will feel as if Christmas has arrived early!

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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