Attempting the impossible... predicting an Ipswich Town starting XI as Blues head back to the scene of Lincoln crime
PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 November 2019
Ipswich Town take on Lincoln City in their FA Cup replay tomorrow night. ANDY WARREN looks ahead to their first return since a humbling in January 2017.
Here we go again
We don't really need reminding of just how bad Ipswich Town's FA Cup record is. (For the record, it's no win since January 2010, now dating back 15 games - woeful).
And we certainly don't need reminding of what happened the last time Ipswich went to Sincil Bank. (Dumped out of the FA Cup by a non-league side on national television).
On top of that, it's not worth thinking about the last time Ipswich tried to right an FA Cup wrong. (A 2-0 league loss at Accrington in October, returning to the scene of the crime of January's cup humbling by the same opposition).
So all of that makes tomorrow's trip to Lincoln feel pretty ominous, right?
Ipswich Town have to win an FA Cup game at some point, so why not this one?
The likelihood is not a single member of the Ipswich Town side tomorrow night will have been involved during that humbling at Lincoln in 2017.
Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse both started that game but appear unlikely to play in this one, while Andre Dozzell was the only other member of the current squad to feature in the game after coming off the bench. He's likely to be unavailable too, for reasons we'll soon discuss.
Freddie Sears and Ben Morris were both substitutes that night but are currently injured.
Dean Gerken, Jonas Knudsen, Christophe Berra, Josh Emmanuel, Paul Digby, Grant Ward, Jonathan Douglas, Leon Best and Tom Lawrence have all departed, as have Mick McCarthy and his coaching staff.
So, really, there aren't any wounds to heal - apart from in the stands, that is.
So, who will play?
It's become impossible to pick Ipswich Town sides this season.
Paul Lambert's rotation game means you never know what you're going to get, whether that be league, cup or EFL Trophy.
You would think the side named for this game will be something resembling the one fielded in the first staging, but Lambert won't be able to use an unchanged team due to a few enforced absences.
Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Armando Dobra all started at Portman Road but, given they are set to play for their international sides tonight, any kind of involvement less than 24 hours later is almost certainly a no-no.
Alan Judge is also likely to miss out on the matchday squad, given he will not be returning from Republic of Ireland duty until later today.
So that's who won't be playing.
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Janoi Donacien, Toto Nsiala and Myles Kenlock will all surely get another opportunity to impress, as will Emyr Huws and Will Keane.
These are big games for players like that; on the fringes of the league side, behind established starters and with points to prove.
This is their opportunity to force their own agenda. If Ipswich are knocked out, those opportunities will become fewer and fewer.
Anyway, here's a stab at an Ipswich Town team: Holy; Donacien, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Kenlock; Edwards, Huws, Nolan, Georgiou; Keane, Jackson.
Now, while it's not a 'full strength' Ipswich side, there's enough in there to win this game.
My biggest frustration watching the original staging of this game was not the overall team selection, because we knew full well mass changes were coming, but the fact James Norwood wasn't brought on until the 86th minute.
Keane had started as a lone forward, with Dobra playing just off him, but always looks as if he could benefit from a partner in attack.
He has good close control, ability to bring others into play and good vision - all the attributes needed to form effective partnerships with both Norwood and Kayden Jackson and, had the former been introduced as a substitute a little earlier (such as when the crowd was whipped up by Will Norris's penalty save), we may not be here talking about a replay.
That's why I'd play either Norwood or Jackson tomorrow night, giving Keane, who is almost certain to start, support and Ipswich a platform from which to play.
The reward for the winner of this game, don't forget, is an away tie at Coventry City in round two.
That will almost certainly be played on Sunday, December 1, due to the fact Coventry's borrowed St Andrew's home is being used by Birmingham City the previous day.
Oh, and there's £36,000 on offer to the winning side.
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