Date: 18th January 2016 at 4:32pm
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I think it is a little sad when it comes to this but I fully understand why manager Mick McCarthy wants to rest a few first team players who have picked up minor injuries.

The 3rd Round replay tomorrow at Portsmouth will be a bridge too far for Town I suspect and may come as a disappointment to our legion of travelling faithful but if they can put in a good show, then the supporters will be relatively content with that.

McCarthy will not name his team in advance this time but has said that Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and Christophe Berra have picked up knocks and he will not risk them tomorrow night.

Josh Emmanuel, Myles Kenlock and perhaps Adam McDonnell might get a look-in as they are in the squad and one certain starter is Bartosz Bialkowski in goal again.

It is likely too that Brett Pitman will be in from the off and Luke Hyam looks to be another likely starter.

Portsmouth will be firing on all cylinders after not playing a competitive game since the 9th January when they earned that creditable 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

They have a great incentive too to go further in the cup because next up is local rivals Bournemouth at home and providing they don’t assume to job is already done, then I think they will go through in this one.

The worst case scenario for the blues is extra time and perhaps too an unwanted set of penalties.

It is far better if Town go out without the need for an extended away day stay, when McCarthy may be tempted to bring in more experienced players from the bench in an attempt to win the match.

I sympathize completely with his thinking on this. It would be lovely to progress further in the FA Cup but not at any cost! The Sky Bet Championship remains our priority and if we go down tomorrow night, then so be it.

The other fear is picking up injuries in a fiercely fought encounter like this. Our squad is not massive and we can ill afford injuries at this critical stage of the season.

On Saturday, we face an in-form Birmingham City at St.Andrews and we will have to be at our sharpest to get anything from this match too I fear.

Our recent away record is very good but this will be a grueling test of our metal and we will do well to come away with a point.

The Brummies are currently in eight place in the table and will know only too well that victory will see them leapfrog Town and maybe, into those play-off places so they have incentive enough!

Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich


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