Preview: Blues v Ipswich – 29/09/18

Finally. A win is on the board and a huge weight has been lifted off Monk’s shoulders. Beating an unbeaten side away from home is sure to create some momentum, which Blues will look to exploit at home to winless Ipswich.

Build Up

After the goalless draw at home to QPR back at the start of September, it did look bleak for a Blues side still looking for their first win. The following three fixtures were hosting West Brom and then visits to Sheffield United and Leeds. Many sides in the league will pick up few points from these three fixtures and often opt for a defensive approach. Blues, on the other hand, could have easily came away with nine points following these fixtures.

Fortunately, a battling defensive performance and a brace from Adams gave Blues their long-awaited first win of the season at Elland Road. On paper, an unbeaten top of the league at home to a winless away side, a win only looked possible for one side. However, Blues have a decent record at Elland Road and the win that did come was inevitable. We hope now that one win will bring another and start a climb up the table. Blues shouldn’t underestimate Ipswich just as Leeds seemingly underestimated us, however.

After hobbling off last week, Gary Gardner is fully fit for Blues and is expected to start, whilst forward Isaac Vassell is now expected to return to full fitness before Christmas. For the visitors, Jon Walters has been ruled out for sixth months, however Freddie Sears is back in contention after a groin injury.

Opposition Opinion

For the build-up to the game, We Are Birmingham spoke to Blue Monday Podcast ahead of the game.

We’re currently enduring our worst start to a season since the Roy Keane era, and worryingly our performances have arguably got worse.

Hurst said pre-season that he wants players to be brave on the ball, but at the moment we look very low on confidence. Our best player from the last three seasons Bialkowski meanwhile is sat on the bench, while returning hero Jon Walters has done his Achilles.

Most fans are still behind Hurst but the lack of a win is worrying, as is the lack of clear chances we’ve been creating (particularly away from home). I expect Birmingham to be full of confidence after the win at Leeds. Man for man, Birmingham look better equipped to stay up than we do.

Half Time Prediction:

Birmingham 1-0 Ipswich

Full Time Prediction:

Birmingham 1-0 Ipswich

Predicted Ipswich Line-up:

(4-2-3-1) Gerken; Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers, Knudsen; Skuse, Chalobah; Edun, Nolan, Graham; Jackson

Blues Lineup

The Stats

Blues have only lost once in the last 18 matches at St. Andrews against Ipswich, thanks to former Blues striker DJ Campbell.

Garry Monk has won all three home matches he has faced against Ipswich, without his side conceding a single goal.

Ipswich have scored just once away from home this season and have lost eight of their last nine away games.

Pre-match Quotes

Birmingham City manager Garry Monk on Blues’ first win of the season last week and the approach to the Ipswich game:

Wins are the icing on the cake, that’s what we are here for, players, staff, management, fans. We want to be winning games continuously. I have said it quite a few times that belief wasn’t dented, confidence wasn’t dented.

But we have got to show it’s more than words, we have got to show it in performances. And I think the players have done that.

It is going to be a tough game, but we need to be ready for whatever scenarios, them defensively, them offensively and make sure we are ready to be able to deal with both.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst on believing in the squad and positives for the season:

Overall I think the lads are in good spirits. They have to keep believing. I’ve got my part to play in that, but they also have to do that themselves individually and collectively. There’s no point me just saying it or the crowd really cheering them on.

The positives last week were that we kept a clean sheet and we move up a place. We weren’t out partying thinking we’ve cracked it, but it was a small step forward. Granted it was a very, very small step.

I genuinely believe that we will win a game of football, whether it’s Saturday or the next couple of weeks, playing worse than we have done so far. I’m not saying that it’s been absolutely brilliant, but I guarantee you we will play worse and win a game of football.

 

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Jordan Marley is a current journalism student at The University of Salford; a long-suffering Blues fan who also writes for the Huffington Post and Quays News.

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