Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Player watch: Ipswich need Smith at his consistent best in the coming weeks

PUBLISHED: 01:09 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 01:09 03 January 2018

A disappointed Tommy Smith at Fulham. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

A disappointed Tommy Smith at Fulham. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738

If Adam Webster’s Achilles injury ‘rumbles on’ as Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy fears it might, it figures Tommy Smith is going to be playing a central role for the Blues in the coming weeks.

Webster limped out of Saturday’s defeat by Derby and, with his manager believing the defender will return for the January 13 clash with Leeds at the earliest, it meant Smith was the man thrust into action at Craven Cottage.

The New Zealand international has not been without injury problems of his own this season, firstly suffering with a hamstring problem before suffering a calf injury while on World Cup duty, which had limited his season to just 180 minutes heading into the Fulham clash. Indeed, he only made six starts in the entirety of 2017.

His previous Ipswich appearance came at Cardiff, where his lack of match fitness showed at times, but he stood firm with the rest of the Ipswich backline during an early onslaught which saw the hosts pepper the Blues’ box.

MORE: Spence’s ‘moment of madness has cost us’, says McCarthy

His night started well, as he thumped a headed clearance out into midfield to deal well with a Fulham header into the box, but things became that bit more difficult as the night went on.

Smith and his fellow defenders were put to the test by a Fulham side who like to move the ball quickly and work off muscular striker Aboubakar Kamara.

Luke Chambers was the man to deal with Kamara one-on-one, with Smith left to pick up the pieces of the men working off the central striker.

Despite being caught flat-footed on occasions, Smith recovered well time and again, notably poking the ball off the feet of Floyd Ayite when the Fulham man was looking to latch onto a loose ball.

Then, the game changed. The sending off of Jordan Spence left the Blues fighting for their lives to keep the hosts at bay. That fight lasted 15 minutes before the floodgates opened, with Fulham’s four goals in just seven minutes killing the game.

It would be unfair to lay blame for any of the goals solely at Smith’s door, but the defender will have left Craven Cottage knowing he perhaps could have done more to keep the ball out of the net.

MORE: ‘It has affected the result and I feel terrible... all I can do is apologise’: Spence on Fulham red

He only managed half a block in the build-up to Fulham’s second, scored by Kamara, while Tom Cairney danced past both Smith and Luke Chambers to square to Ryan Sessegnon for Fulham’s third.

Smith, now 27-years-old, has been the model of consistency during much of his career at Portman Road, particularly during a 2014/15 campaign which saw the Blues reach the play-offs.

He will need to be again if Webster is out for any prolonged spell, while Spence’s three-match ban puts further pressure on a Town squad which couldn’t afford any further absences.

The countdown to an international cycling spectacular sweeping through the heart of Suffolk in June has stepped up a gear – as a high-profile dignitary swapped her civic chain for a bicycle one.

An Ipswich man allegedly confessed to a friend that he had stabbed father-of-five Dean Stansby but hadn’t meant to kill him, a court has heard.

Schools in Ipswich are among the most under-funded in Suffolk according to new figures obtained by a union-sponsored website.

In 2012 the Woodbridge teenager had just become an internet sensation.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has given his first-ever interview on camera - and revealed that he plans to appoint a new Blues boss ‘towards the end of May or early in June,’ plus admitted that raising season ticket prices last year was a mistake.

Rail conductor/guards working on Greater Anglia trains have called a second one-day strike in early May – but the company insists passengers will not be affected.

The harshest winter for years is set to cost Suffolk County Council millions of pounds according to a report by officials.

Police are investigating reports that a number of cars were vandalised in the North Hill Road area of Ipswich.

Police were called to Ipswich Waterfront this morning amid concerns for a man on Stoke Bridge.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have joined together to recognise the achievements of Aldeburgh born suffragist Dame Millicent Fawcett as a new statue was unveiled in her memory.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24