IPSWICH TOWN become the first visitors to Vicarage Road this season as they entertain the Golden Boys this Tuesday night.
Paul Jewell’s Tractor Boys kicked off their 2012/13 campaign at home, drawing 1-1 with the recently relegated Blackburn Rovers. A goal from Colin Kazim-Richards had the visitors ahead before Rovers’ defender Jason Lowe put through his own-goal to hand Ipswich a share of the spoils.
It’s been a fairly quiet summer for the Suffolk side on the transfer front, with just Jimmy Bullard departing – released by mutual consent – a man we tipped to be Town’s star man this season!
The headline arrival for the Portman Road outfit was former Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach. The 24 year-old stopper arrives at Portman Road having played for the Blues’ academy as a youngster. The former England U21 international has been linked with a return to the club his supports during most transfer windows in the past 12 months and finally got his dream move this summer after falling out of favour at Vicarage Road.
The loan arrival of Tomasz Kuszczak following a Loach horror-show at Crystal Palace spelled the end for the Nottingham-born stopper who found himself on the bench for all but one game until the season’s end.
Contrary to speculation, former Hornet’s boss Sean Dyche did speak to his goalkeeper again after dropping him in favour of the Pole.
Speaking to itfc.com, Loach admitted he was looking forward to returning to WD18:
“It will be nice to see a few old faces but once you step out onto the pitch that all becomes irrelevant and I`ll just be focusing on the game.
“I`m not sure what sort of reception I will get off the Watford fans, it will probably be mixed,’ admitted Loach.
“I know that Ipswich haven`t beat Watford in quite a few years now and I don`t think I`ve ever lost when playing against Ipswich, so hopefully that can change now I`m a Town player.”
The run which Loach refers to stretches back an incredible 15 matches, with the last Town victory coming in March 2004. The game was of course famous for debutant Dean Bowditch’s hat-trick as well as Lenny Pidgeley’s own horror show between the sticks as Town ran riot, winning 4-1.
Former Nottingham Forest and Northampton Town centre-back Luke Chambers was signed on a free transfer following his release by the Tricky Trees, whilst highly-rated young Welsh defender Elliott Hewitt was snapped up for an undisclosed fee from Macclesfield Town. Australian midfielder Massimo Luongo signed on-loan from Tottenham Hotspur to round off Ipswich`s summer business.
Ipswich have a clean bill of health with only Hewitt unavailable as he recuperates following hip surgery whilst still with Macclesfield.
Gianfranco Zola may be able to re-introduce Daniel Pudil at left-back, dependent on whether or not the Czech has recovered from injury. Matej Vydra stated his case for a start with a stunning winner at Palace, meaning Mark Yeates could make way wide of the centre forward.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Nosworthy, Taylor, Dickinson; Hogg, Eustace (c), Abdi; Murray, Garner & Vydra.
Ipswich Town: Loach; Edwards (c), Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Carson, Hyam, Luongo, Martin; Emmaneul-Thomas & Chopra.
Referee: Mr R East.