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‘He should have been here’ – Hugill the one that got away for Town

PUBLISHED: 06:00 04 November 2017

Ipswich Town had two bids for Preston striker Jordan Hugill rejected in January. He's scored seven goals in all competitions so far this seaosn. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town had two bids for Preston striker Jordan Hugill rejected in January. He's scored seven goals in all competitions so far this seaosn. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town host Preston North End in a Championship match this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil. Photo: PA Preston North End manager Alex Neil. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy raises his eyebrows and grimaces ruefully at the mention of Jordan Hugill’s name ahead of this afternoon’s Championship clash with Preston North End at Portman Road.

Almost 18 months ago, the Blues boss had identified the burly front man as the ideal replacement for Daryl Murphy at Portman Road.

Two bids – believed to be around £1.5m and £2m – were rebuffed by the Lancashire club back in January, with then Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson joking the player’s price had rocketed to £4m after he netted a late leveller against the Blues.

• ‘I thought we would miss Berra’ – McCarthy on defensive woes

Then the transfer market hyper-inflated and Preston ended up rejecting a staggering £8m offer from Reading over the summer.

“He should have been here really but there you go,” said McCarthy. “We tried to buy him (in January) and we couldn’t do it. That’s the upshot of that. They then wanted big money for him in the summer.”

David McGoldrick should return to the Ipswich Town team today after being rested in midweek. Photo: PA David McGoldrick should return to the Ipswich Town team today after being rested in midweek. Photo: PA

Hugill is not the only Preston player Town have shown an interested in over recent months. Alex Neil – he formerly of Norwich City – has been shopping regularly in the Irish market that McCarthy and his staff know well.

• Nydam and Downes are Championship ‘babies’

“Pretty much everybody looked at (Sean) Maguire, (Daryl) Horgan and (Andy) Boyle,” said the Blues boss. “Plenty looked at them, but fair play to Preston they put the money down for them.”

With the two teams locked on the same number of points in the middle of the Championship table, McCarthy continued: “They’re just like us. I don’t think they were fancied to have such a good start, neither were we. We both seemed to have dropped off and been a little bit more inconsistent.

“He’s having to patch his team up because of injuries and we’re pretty much the same.

“We’re on the same points. We’re both sides that will do very well to get in the top six. It’s an interesting game.”

Seven-goal striker Martyn Waghorn was also rested at Cardiff. Photo: Steve Waller Seven-goal striker Martyn Waghorn was also rested at Cardiff. Photo: Steve Waller

• Garner to put sentiment aside against old club Preston

McCarthy made six changes to the team which won 2-1 at Burton last Saturday for Tuesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Cardiff.

Asked if he’d had half an eye on today’s game with that midweek selection, he replied: “No. I told the players prior to the Burton game that I was going to make changes (at Cardiff).

“We’ve used fewer players than anyone else – 19, I believe.

“I remember the Bristol City game (3-1 home defeat), that was a third game (in eight days) and it was just a game too much for some of them to go at full tilt.

• McCarthy says he would return to Sunderland ‘in a heartbeat’ if he was free and available

“I told them I’d change it, I did and now I’ve got fresh legs.”

With the third international break of the season following today’s match, McCarthy added: “It would be nice to go into it on a high because we haven’t done it for the last two.

“It’s horrible if you’ve lost, whereas if you win you can switch off for a couple of days.”

Mick McCarthy has told teenagers Flynn Downes (pictured) and Tristan Nydam that they will be in and out of the side this season. Photo: Pagepix Mick McCarthy has told teenagers Flynn Downes (pictured) and Tristan Nydam that they will be in and out of the side this season. Photo: Pagepix

• Smith welcomes competition for places in ‘really strong’ Town squad

OPPOSITION LOWDOWN

Team name: Preston North End

Nickname: Lilywhite

Manager: Alex Neil (July ‘17: P16 W5 D6 L5)

Ground: Deepdale

Last three finishes: 11th, 11th (both Championship), 3rd (League One)

Form: LLLDDWDWWD

Current position: 10th

Last result: L 2-0 Aston Villa (a)

Biggest win: 3-0 Cardiff (h) - Sept 12

Biggest defeat: 2-0 Aston Villa (h) – Nov 1

Top-scorers: Hugill (7), Maguire (4)

Most league starts: Maxwell, Barkhuizen (15)

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news

LAST MEETING

Preston North End 1 Ipswich Town 1

Date: Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tom Lawrence scored another wonder goal after dancing inside from the left (16), but Town were pegged back at the death when transfer target Jordan Hugill rammed home from close-range (89).

The Blues won the earlier reverse fixture 1-0 courtesy of Grant Ward’s early strike.

STAT ATTACK

12 – Goals conceded in last five by Preston

57 – Goals Town striker Joe Garner scored for Preston

2008 – Last time Town lost at home to Preston (P5 W2 D3)

21 – Games without a draw for Town

• QUIZ: Can you name the Town players who featured in FA Cup games against Preston back in January 2014?

TEAM NEWS

Ipswich Town team news

• This game has come too soon for midfield trio Emyr Huws (Achilles), Tom Adeyemi (hamstring) and Teddy Bishop (groin). All three are back in training.

• McCarthy made six changes to the team which secured a 2-1 win at Burton last Saturday for Tuesday night’s 3-1 defeat in Cardiff.

• Martyn Waghorn, David McGoldrick, Freddie Sears, Adam Webster, Jordan Spence and Tristan Nydam were the ones rested in South Wales.

• McCarthy has intimated that teenagers Nydam and Flynn Downes might be taken out of the line of fire.

• Andre Dozzell and Luke Hyam (both knee) remain long-term absentees.

• Preston boss frustrated by Ipswich scouting mission

Preston North End team news

• Alex Neil has seven senior defenders potentially sidelined. Club captain Tom Clarke, stand-in skipper Greg Cunningham, Ben Davies, Tommy Spurr and Marnick Vermijl were already out, while Calum Woods and Josh Earl suffered knee injuries in Wednesday night’s 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.

• Key centre-back Paul Huntington is available again after a one-match ban.

• Having named much the same side for two games in four days, Neil may freshen things up offensively.

• Ward wants to nail down central role for Town

OPPOSITION KEY MAN

Jordan Hugill

Town might be wishing they’d pushed the boat out a little further to land the all-action front man back in January. The 25-year-old has scored seven goals in all competitions already this season.

REFEREE

Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Games: 9, Yellows: 39, Reds: 4

BETTING

Ipswich Town 9/5

Draw 5/2

Preston North End 17/10

PREDICTION

Ipswich Town 2 Preston North End 1

Town should be fresher, while Preston’s defence is decimated.

Jordan Spence has been telling his Ipswich Town team-mates just how much of a threat he is in front of goal - and the defender is delighted to be proving his point on the field.

Suffolk FA Women’s Cup Second Round

Ipswich Athletic 0

Ipswich Town Ladies Development side 14

Ipswich Town Ladies Development side progressed to the next round of the Suffolk FA Cup with a massive 14-0 thumping of Suffolk league side Ipswich Athletic, writes Liam Young.

Focus on the strengths, recognise the weaknesses and enjoy the ride.

Episode One: Stuart Watson and Andy Warren discuss Ipswich Town’s draw at Hull City, hear from Mick McCarthy and Jordan Spence and make the first pitches for football’s Room 101.

“We might not be the best, but we keep going. It’s an endearing quality we have.”

Watch match highlights of Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw at Hull City on Saturday.

A point at Hull City should not be seen as anything other than a good result ordinarily and the fact that we gained that point with a late equaliser certainly felt better than a loss. But were they not there for the taking on the day?

It was certainly an eventful day for David McGoldrick.

Jordan Spence believes his late leveller at Hull shows the character of the Ipswich Town squad.

Ipswich Town drew 2-2 at Hull City in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON highlights the key talking points.

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