Behind Enemy Lines: Ipswich Town

MILLWALL go into the clash with Ipswich with one point from their opening two fixtures, though it should arguably be six.

Aiden O’Brien has a small hamstring tear and is unlikely to be involved, but Jake Cooper could return to the side following injury. Lions boss Neil Harris could opt to make changes to his front two, with Tom Elliot pushing for a starting berth.

Midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe isn’t yet ready for first-team action.

Ipswich have had a flying start to the season under former Millwall manager Mick McCarthy. They sit fourth in the table, behind Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Cardiff, who also have maximum points.

Grant Ward could be available for the Tractor Boys following injury, but both Adam Webster and Tommy Smith are out. Midfielder Flynn Downes is also a doubt after picking up a knock against Barnsley. Luke Hyam could be set to return to the squad.

The Lions will be hoping to improve on their record against Ipswich, as McCarthy’s men have one four of the last six encounters between the sides.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s game at The Den, Lucas Ball spoke to England and Great Britain hockey goalkeeper and captain George Pinner.

Twitter: @GCP01

Why do you support Ipswich?

I’m from Ipswich so being anything but an Ipswich fan was never really an option. My family have been season-ticket holders all my life and have already had close links to the club through various players and managers dating back to when Sir Bobby [Robson] was in charge.

How would you rate your side’s transfer business this summer?

Mick and the club seem to have done a great job. We have been crying out for a striker since we sold Daryl Murphy and I think Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn look like great players and really good value for the prices we paid.

We have also added some attacking quality to our midfield but unfortunately sickness or injury has meant we haven't really seen what they can do yet. This has given some of our young home-grown players a chance to shine and they have done just that. It was just such a shame to lose Andre Dozzell first game of the season.

After a good start to 2017-18, what are your expectations for this campaign?

Who knows in the championship?! I agree with Mick when he describes it as a bonkers league. Most years anyone can beat anyone and it tends to be about momentum and putting a run together at the right time.

I think given the disappointing end to last season we needed to start the season well to unite the fans, manager and players again. That's happened so hopefully we can kick on and keep the positive start going.

Given our budget, compared to others, I think to be challenging for the top six come the last day of the season would be a great achievement.

Which of McCarthy’s men will be key on Tuesday night?

For the last 2 seasons, Bart [Bialkowski] in goal has been the standout player. I think without him last season we could have stood a real risk of going down. Even this season, despite winning our three games, he has still had to make a number of great saves, so he could prove to be the difference again on Tuesday.

Who do you think has the potential to cause harm to Ipswich from Neil Harris’ side?

I watched you guys against Forest and you guys could and probably should have been out of sight in the first half.

I think it will be a tough, physical game and while there isn't one player in particular that I worry about, I think you will be a hard team to play against. At least one of Steve Morison and Tom Elliot will certainly make it hard for our defence.

What is your predicted line-up and formation for Ipswich?

I’d love to see Mick go 4-4-2 and put out Garner, Freddie Sears, David McGoldrick and Waghorn like he did at the start of the second half last weekend [when Ipswich came from a goal down to beat Barnsley]. I think Didz [McGoldrick] in particular has got to be pushing for a start, but I've got a feeling he will stick with 3-5-2 and change it up in the second half if required.



Spence, Knudsen, Chambers

Iorfa, Skuse, Nydam, McDonnell, Kenlock

Waghorn, Garner

Finally, what is your score prediction?

I'm going to go with Town keeping the good start going, though I think it will be tight.

Millwall 1-2 Ipswich

Graphic: @ShedCreative