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

PUBLISHED: 16:50 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:07 02 November 2017

Tommy Smith, pictured battling with Cardiff's Omar Bogle for the ball, is in World Cup action. Picture: PAGEPIX

Tommy Smith, pictured battling with Cardiff's Omar Bogle for the ball, is in World Cup action. Picture: PAGEPIX

Pagepix Ltd

Tommy Smith believes Ipswich Town will have “a really strong squad” when the club’s injured players return and has welcomed the increased competition for places.

The New Zealand international came back into the side for Tuesday night’s defeat by Cardiff, replacing Adam Webster at the heart of the Blues’ defence, but at times looked short of match sharpness having not featured since the opening day due to a hamstring injury.

Town have been hit by a string of injuries in defence this season, which saw Mick McCarthy at one stage fielding a backline made up entirely of full-backs, but Smith now believes the strength of the Blues’ squad is beginning to show itself.

READ: Joe Garner on celebrating against former club Preston

“There are more of us coming back now and that means there is some good competition for places” the 27-year-old told the club website.

“Without that pressure you can start to get complacent. You need to know there are others challenging for your position. It keeps you on your toes and makes you more determined to perform at the top level.

“It would be nice to have everyone fit at some point this season. If all the guys are fit then I think we have a really strong squad on paper.”

READ: Hunt backs McCarthy - ‘If I was an Ipswich fan I would be happy with Mick’

Town take on Preston on Saturday and could have Emyr Huws back in the matchday squad following his Achilles injury, while Tom Adeyemi has also been dealing with a hamstring problem and Teddy Bishop and Luke Hyam remain sidelined.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has apologised for any offence he caused while celebrating Luke Chambers’ goal at Norwich on Sunday, but has reiterated he did not aim his comments at the Blues fans.

Match highlights from Ipswich Town’s dramatic 1-1 draw with rivals Norwich in the East Anglian derby.

Ipswich Town U23 1

Charlton Athletic U23 2

Shane McLoughlin was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t enough as Ipswich Town’s Under 23’s were beaten 2-1 by Charlton Athletic at Playford Road this afternoon, writes Kieren Standley.

Police have said they are working to identify supporters responsible for criminal damage at Norwich City’s ground ahead of derby clash against Ipswich Town in the East Anglian derby.

Luke Chambers insists Ipswich Town will be fuelled by a desire to finish above rivals Norwich between now and the end of the season.

What an absolute kick in the teeth, writes Karl Fuller in the wake of Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road.

What a shame. Mick McCarthy was only seconds away from having another favourite DVD to add to his collection of perfect away performances. You know the ones – shut up shop for the entire second half, then nick a winner from a set-piece, writes Northstander Terry Hunt,

No amount of counselling can get this increasingly fractured long-term relationship with Mick McCarthy and Ipswich Town back on track now.

As the dust continues to settle following Ipswich Town’s dramatic 1-1 draw at Norwich, sports writer Andy Warren hosts our weekly webchat to discuss all the latest goings on at Portman Road.

Captain Luke Chambers deflected any blame away from goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski after Ipswich let their lead slip in stoppage time against bitter rivals Norwich.

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