Tough test against in-form Baggies

IPSWICH Town face an in-form West Brom side in the Championship at The Hawthorns tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).The Baggies have not been beaten for five games, and have forced their way back into the top six.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town face an in-form West Brom side in the Championship at The Hawthorns tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The Baggies have not been beaten for five games, and have forced their way back into the top six.

In their last four home matches they have accrued 12 points and scored 13 goals.

Midfielder Darren Carter has called on his fellow Albion players to build on their current run.

He said: “We were out of the play-off places for a few weeks and that is not where we want to be.

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“Having beaten Preston on Boxing Day we now have a chance to build on that.”

But Carter is aware of a possible Ipswich backlash after West Brom thrashed Jim Magilton's side 5-1 in mid-October.

“What happened at Portman Road is going to be on the minds of the Ipswich players, they will be using that to psyche themselves up,” said Carter.

“Ipswich will come here with the aim of being gritty and getting in our faces, but Jason Koumas, Joe Kamara, Nathan Ellington and Kevin Phillips are all on fire, everything they touch seems to be hitting the net.”

Albion are managed by Town defender Tony Mowbray, who watched the corresponding game at Portman Road when Nigel Pearson was in temporary charge and Mowbray was waiting to take over.

Left back Paul Robinson is suspended, but Neil Clement is available after a one-match ban and could slot into left-back, although fit-again Steve Watson and Chris Perry are also in contention for defensive roles.

“I am well aware of the proud tradition they have at Ipswich,” said Mowbray.

“They certainly play an open, expansive game which gives you the chance to play. Not many teams play that way in this division.”

Ipswich could be unchanged for a fourth game running. Dan Harding is expected to keep his place.

The improving Alan Lee/Jon Macken partnership is likely to

spearhead Town's assault on an upset, and it remains to be seen how many games the latter has left with Town as his loan from Crystal Palace is set to expire after Monday's game with Birmingham.

The last time Ipswich played at The Hawthorns they lost 4-1 to slide to the bottom of the table.

That was in September 2003 with a Drissa Diallo own goal helping send Town to their lowest league position for 39 years.

Chris Bart-Williams and Alan Mahon made their Town debuts and Ipswich reached the First Division play-offs before losing in the semi-final to West Ham.

Tomorrow's squads

West Brom: Hoult, Albrechtsen, McShane, Davies, Clement, Perry, Watson, Greening, Carter, Koumas, Kamara, Phillips, Hartson, Quashie, Chaplow, Gera, Ellington, Zuberbuhler.

Ipswich Town: Price, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Williams, Legwinski, Garvan, Roberts, Lee, Macken, Richards, Walton, Haynes, Clarke, Supple, Peters, Casement.

Referee: Mr C Penton (Sussex).

Ipswich will play their third round FA Cup tie at Chester next Saturday.

Yesterday the Football Association rejected Bury's appeal after their expulsion from the competition for fielding an ineligible player in their 3-1 replay win over Chester City.

What do you think? Were the FA right to throw Bury out of the FA Cup? Write to Sports Desk, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk