Cumbrians can make Town toil
After 6-0 defeats, the next port of call for supporters tends to be as far away from the club as possible. A good time, then, to make a 310-mile Tuesday night trip to Carlisle?
It is the task facing Ipswich as they bid to recover from Saturday’s mauling at Blackpool. It was an afternoon which prompted apologies aplenty and furious talk of wake-up calls. But it is not their first under Paul Jewell, as the former Wigan boss continues to toil at the helm.
Last season was one of few bright moments. Sitting 19th at the turn of the year, Town eventually crawled up four places, grimly keeping a relegation battle at bay. They also slipped out of both cup competitions at the first time of asking, falling at Hull in the FA Cup and tripping up at home to Northampton in the League Cup.
And as they return to action in the newly-renamed Capital One Cup, we’re not prepared to rule out another humbling against lower-division opposition.
The concern in Suffolk has been over attitude rather than talent during Jewell’s 19 months in charge, a situation encapsulated by the path of forgotten golden-boy Jimmy Bullard. The midfielder, who has somehow regressed from cherished everyman into enfant terrible, was among the manager’s first additions after his arrival in January 2011. But for both, it has been a frustrating time of false dawns, broken promises and underachievement. The 33-year-old was released earlier this month and the boss may well be heading down the same track if results fail to improve.
Jewell was handed summer backing, with impressive Championship performers Scott Loach (Watford) and Luke Chambers (Nottingham Forest) lured to the club. And it should not be forgotten that the Tractor Boys had enjoyed an encouraging opening, taking a point against Blackburn and all three at Watford. However, there is a feeling that this latest display may be a touch more representative of the state of affairs.
And we don’t expect Tuesday’s hosts to do much for the manager’s cause. United, who saw off Accrington in the first round, enjoyed a 17-match unbeaten league run at Brunton Park last term, a spell only ended by champions Charlton in April. A 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tranmere in their first home outing in League One this season came as a shock but they recovered to secure a 4-2 success against Portsmouth last time out.
Greg Abbott’s men may not be at their strongest, with strikers Lee Miller (injured) and loanee Jake Jervis (ineligible) both missing but the boss has consistently had his side punching above their weight, guiding them to improved finishes in each of his four campaigns in charge. Jon-Paul McGovern and Liam Noble are likely to be asked to provide the spark in midfield with Paddy Madden, who notched Carlisle’s fourth on Saturday, and Danny Cadamarteri eyeing starting spots up front.
The Cumbrians ought to be able to play without pressure against a side who know even a victory on Tuesday will be considered only a small step towards bouncing back from their seaside humiliation. Town have been knocked out of this competition by teams from lower divisions in six of the last nine campaigns and at almost 2/1 for the win we fancy Abbott’s men to make it seven in ten.
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