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‘They are quite fragile’: Ipswich face stuttering Middlesbrough at an ideal time

PUBLISHED: 10:51 07 December 2017

Alun Armstrong, pictured with Marcus Stewart and Matt Holland, believes Ipswich head to Middlesbrough at the perfect time.

Alun Armstrong, pictured with Marcus Stewart and Matt Holland, believes Ipswich head to Middlesbrough at the perfect time.

Ipswich Town have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of ‘fragile’ Middlesbrough’s struggles, according to former striker Alun Armstrong.

The Blues sit just two places and three points above Saturday’s opponents, but all is not well at the North East club given they are struggling to meet lofty expectations, following a summer which saw a succession of big-money signings arrive in a bid to secure an immediate return to the top flight.

Armstrong, who moved to Portman Road from the Riverside in December 2000, believes the Blues take on Garry Monk’s side at the ideal time following two good wins of their own, but expects the game between his two former clubs to be a close one.

“I think it will be an interesting game this weekend because Boro need to get back to winning ways and Ipswich seem to have picked up a little bit,” he said.

MORE: Burley backs firing Blues to make the Championship top six

Ipswich Alun Armstrong celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Inter Milan. Picture: PA Ipswich Alun Armstrong celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Inter Milan. Picture: PA

“It will be tough for both teams but Middlesbrough have such a high expectation on them. It’s expected they will be promoted, end of.

“They need to go up this year and everyone knows how much has been spent on players, in excess of £50million, and in all honesty in that league that should get you promoted.

“They made a statement early on to say ‘we will smash the Championship’ and it’s been far from it. You can get away with it if the performances are good and results not great. Unfortunately they are not getting either at the minute.

MORE: Former Ipswich boss Royle leaves Everton role

“I think it’s an ideal time for Ipswich to come and play Boro. They are quite fragile and I think Ipswich will be right up for it given the results they’ve had last week.”

Armstrong is now the manager of promotion-chasing National League North side Blyth Spartans but still finds time to keep a close eye on both of his former clubs’ fortunes. And he’s been particularly impressed by Blues striker Martyn Waghorn.

“I was really surprised he left Rangers because they are obviously a big club, but there is nothing like the English league at the end of the day,” Armstrong said.

MORE: ‘Football doesn’t wait for anyone... you’ve got to make it happen’: Chambers’ challenge to Bishop

“He’s had a great start to his Ipswich career and is always a threat and a good finisher. He’s be one to watch for Ipswich.

“Then again, you look at Middlesbrough’s attacking force and they have some great players but can’t string anything together. They have (Britt) Assombalonga and he’s caused problems and scored goals, but the overall play hasn’t been great.”

Hosting a barbeque or grabbing a cool pint in the local pub for the England game tomorrow? Check here to see how warm it will be where you are.

Thousands of the region’s bravest swimmers donned their wetsuits and took the plunge at the Great East Swim when it returned to Suffolk today.

A special baton relay will arrive on the Suffolk coast on Monday as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the formation of the RAF.

Essex Police says it is “very concerned” for the welfare of two missing young people – who are believed to be together in the Colchester area.

Shoppers have expressed shock after plans to shut to a “struggling” East of England Co-op store in Ipswich were announced.

Four people arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a man in Chelmsford yesterday have been released.

From a tribute music festival to a muddy obstacle course – there are plenty of events for people to enjoy across Suffolk and north Essex this weekend.

Thousands of runners dressed in pink are expected to descend on Trinity Park near Ipswich this weekend to play their part in the fight against cancer.

The coast of California USA and Fore Street, Ipswich swimming pool are worlds apart in several ways, but for former Ipswich lady, Karen Quezada, nee Spanner, who now lives in California, the little Victorian built pool in Ipswich holds a special place in her heart.

Rail services between Ipswich and Cambridge are returning to normal after a freight train broke down at Bury St Edmunds this morning.

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