Ipswich Town v Brentford: Can history repeat itself for Blues?
PUBLISHED: 13:09 19 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:12 19 August 2017
Ipswich Town will look to continue their perfect start to the season when they host Brentford today. STUART WATSON previews the Championship game.
This is the first time Ipswich have won their opening four games since the promotion campaign of 1999/00. Funnily enough, they won their fifth game that year at Brentford (2-0 in a League Cup tie courtesy of goals from James Scowcroft and Jamie Clapham).
Ipswich needed a good start to change the negative narrative. It’s been a while since they’ve managed to build momentum like this. Remember, they managed back-to-back victories just once during last year’s inconsistent campaign (Easter wins against Burton and Newcastle).
To give this achievement some context, this is only the third time of Mick McCarthy’s near five-year reign they have strung four wins together (Aug 2015 and Sept 2014). The last time Town won five on the spin was back in Aug-Sept 2004.
Town’s tight-knit team spirit is back, but with the games continuing to come thick and fast a crippling injury/illness list may increasingly become a problem. McCarthy had 10 players unavailable for Tuesday night’s dramatic 4-3 win at Millwall. Flynn Downes, Bersant Celina and Dean Gerken will hopefully be back tomorrow.
Town have produced just nine shots on target in their opening three league games and converted seven of them. With four strikers on the field in Joe Garner, David McGoldrick, Martyn Waghorn and Freddie Sears they will get goals, but defensively they have ridden their luck at times. It remains to be seen how they cope against better opposition.
Historically a team which has played in the bottom two tiers, the Bees are now well-established in the Championship now following finishes of fifth, ninth and 10th. Dean Smith has continued the previously good work of Mark Warburton at the modest Griffin Park, continuing the stats-led recruitment policy that focuses on the lower leagues and abroad.
Danish duo Hentik Dalsgaard (defender, Zulte Waregem, £900k) and Emiliano Marcondes (striker, Nordsjaelland, free), South African midfielder Kamo Mokotjo (FC Twente, £880k) and French striker Neal Maupay (St Etienne, £1.8m) have arrived this summer, as has highly-rated English forward Ollie Watkins (Exeter, £1.8m).
They started with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United, required extra-time to win at League One outfit AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, lost a manic match 4-3 at home to Nottingham Forest and then conceded a 98th minute equaliser in Tuesday night’s 2-2 home draw with Bristol City.
Boss Smith, who has admitted ‘it will take time for some of the new boys to settle’, said: “We are definitely running cold in the luck department. We are not getting what we deserve right now, but if we keep playing like that we will.”