'We need to give the fans something to shout about' - Hurst wants a fast start against Boro
PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 October 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Hurst wants his Ipswich Town side to start fast and give the home crowd something to cheer about this evening, as they face a side the Ipswich Town manager sees as arguably the strongest in the Championship.
Middlesbrough arrive at Portman Road sitting third in the second tier, having conceded just four goals in 10 games this season, and with a squad packed full of Championship experience and quality.
“You could argue it’s the strongest,” Hurst said of Tony Pulis’s side. “Maybe West Brom possibly and Stoke’s,” he said.
“The teams who have come down naturally are going to be a bit stronger and there are a lot of teams doing well like Leeds and Brentford.
“If you wanted to try and put your money on a team who are definitely going to be up there, then you won’t go too far wrong with Middlesbrough. They are maybe the safest bet with the squad they’ve got. There is a lot of experience in there and that’s why I think they are a very safe bet to be in that top six and maybe one of the automatic places.
“I’m sure Tony (Pulis) has been through a load of emotions during his career and he’s got his way of playing. It’s not for everybody but he’s certainly got results.
“He’s got a squad put together with lots of quality and a very physical side to play against. That’s something we’ll have to stand up to if we are going to have any success from the game.
“He’s a top drawer manager.”
Hurst knows his side must get the Portman Road crowd involved in this evening’s contest, giving them something to shout about, with the 44-year-old hoping a fast start to the game would do just that.
“That would be the ideal scenario and away teams guard against that,” he said.
“When we go away we expect the home team to be trying to get off to a good start.
“That would be the ideal scenario for us – we certainly want the crowd to be involved on the evening but we have to try and influence that ourselves by giving them something to shout about.”
Boro boss Pulis is looking forward to his latest visit to Portman Road and wants his side to be prepared.
He said: “Good football club, great tradition, nice stadium, the pitch will be nice, the game’s on TV so we’ve just got to make sure we’re ready to go again.
“There’s a good spirit in our club and there’s a good spirit in the dressing room, they are a good group of players who are working really, really hard to get the best results we possibly can.
“We could do with a break or two, I don’t think we’ve had any of that this year, I don’t think we’ve had an ounce of fortune in any of the games and even on Saturday there’s a couple of incidents - I don’t want to keep on about officials - but a couple of incidents that could easily have gone our way. And even if they have not gone our way if there’s a penalty at one end there’s certainly a penalty at the other end and that’s what’s really annoying because you can’t affect that, that’s some other person’s responsibility.”
Town team news
- Paul Hurst will need to make at least one change to his side following Matthew Pennington’s red card at Birmingham. Janoi Donacien is the likely replacement.
- Myles Kenlock has definitely been ruled out with a knock to his ankle while Ellis Harrison (ankle ligaments) is out for two months. That leaves Kayden Jackson and Freddie Sears as Paul Hurst’s only two senior strikers.
- Midfield trio Emyr Huws (knee), Tom Adeyemi (achilles) and Teddy Bishop (hamstring) all remain sidelined.
- Luke Chambers is fit to play despite receiving treatment following a collision at Birmingham.
- Paul Hurst is considering making changes to his side, given they go to Swansea at the weekend.
Boro team news
- Striker Britt Assombalonga is a doubt after taking a knock in the weekend draw with Hull.
- Midfielder Adam Clayton is suspended after picking up five bookings. Former Blue Grant Leadbitter is likely to come in in his place.
Opposition key man: Defender Aden Flint has been a threat to Ipswich Town each and every time he’s faced the Blues. He swapped Bristol City for the Riverside in the summer and continues to be a threat from set-pieces as well as a solid defender.
Ipswich win - 10/3
Draw - 21/10
Middlesbrough win - 11/10
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)