Richard Stearman and Ipswich Town face tough Watford test
09:58 19 February 2013
Ipswich v Watford: Richard Stearman insists he has more to offer as he prepares for his toughest test yet in an Ipswich Town shirt.
The Blues have conceded just one goal since his arrival on loan from Wolves and the 25-year-old has helped to further solidify a once-shaky rearguard, ahead of tonight’s visit of free-scoring Watford.
Having shipped an average of two goals a game prior to manager Mick McCarthy’s appointment, Town can boast a record of just eight goals against in their past nine league matches at Portman Road.
However, the Hornets arrive in Suffolk having plundered 36 goals on their travels this season, including 25 in their last 10 games, and thumped Birmingham, 4-0, away from home on Saturday.
While happy with his form, Stearman is all too aware that he must keep his standards high against a prolific attack that includes 33-goal strikeforce, Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney.
“It helps when you pick up results like the one we did against Middlesbrough,” said Stearman.
“I have been delighted with everything at the club and personally I am happy.
“I am getting there. It’s going to take a few games to pick my fitness up but I have played in a defence that has conceded just one in three games so hopefully we can keep that up.”
The Blues will be searching for their first home victory against the Hornets since 2004, a win that came in the same season that Ipswich last did the double over the Hertfordshire outfit.
But with Watford boasting 12 loan players, including eight from Italian club Udinese, Town’s defence may be given one of their sternest home examinations since McCarthy’s arrival.
“We looked at the two home games in a short space of time, against Blackpool (last Saturday) and Watford, and earmarked those as two games where we could pick up a few points,” said Stearman.
“But Watford are not near the top of the league for no reason and they are on a high after their win at the weekend.
“They have got an outstanding array of talent and a lot of goalscorers throughout their team but hopefully we can acquit ourselves well and come away with at least one if not three points.”
In today’s Star - Two pages of analysis, interviews and team news, ahead of Ipswich Town v Watford