Billy Walker from Hark Now Hear gives us the low down on Ipswich ahead of tomorrow’s game
Billy Walker from Ipswich blog Hark Now Hear has kindly answered a few questions for us ahead of the match tomorrow. Find out how he feels about the season so far and what you should expect from tomorrow’s game…
Ipswich find themselves one point off the playoffs with one game in hand. Will you make the top six?
It`s been a magnificent season, just to still have something to play for is great, and if we make them then superb, if not we had a good go.
Results seem to have gone our way tonight, with Brighton drawing and Bournemouth losing which has effectively put the latter out of the running.
I think 73 points should be enough to secure sixth, meaning we can afford to lose one of our remaining games, winning the other three to get to that total. I think it`s between ourselves and Brighton personally, but there`s work to be done if we`re going to get it!
How are you all finding Mick McCarthy? Do most fans like him and is he a long-term option?
I`ll be honest; he wasn`t my first choice when Jewell was sacked. I wanted to go young, a Karl Robinson or Paulo Di Canio, but I`ve been proven wrong. Experience really does get you places in this division, and Mick`s got plenty of it.
He took over a team that was rock bottom of the Championship and turned them into a team of fighters, full of passion and grit, just like himself. He saved our club from a relegation which would have been disastrous for us.
Having enjoyed a full pre-season with the boys and adding a few new faces, our squad, albeit one of the smallest in the league, is capable of giving anyone a game on our day. He`s not only created a team that`s fighting for promotion, but a fan base that`s finally full of hope once again, with the numbers gradually increasing at Portman Road and larger away attendances, the fans love Mick and Terry to bits.
Whether he`s a long term option remains to be seen, I`m confident he could do a job in the Premiership with us, but who knows. Look at Malky Mackay, Adkins, McDermott, Holloway – managers get the chop a lot easier in the Premier League, particularly from newly promoted teams, probably due to the cost of going down.
How will you cope without your top scorer David McGoldrick now that he’s been confirmed as out for the rest of the season?
Personally, I wasn`t expecting him to return this season. Even if he was to, it`d only be through sub appearances.
He was a massive loss, but big, beautiful Daryl Murphy has filled his boots. Currently only one goal off McGoldrick`s current tally, the Irishman has stepped up to the plate since David`s injury. He`s powerful, a danger in the air and his positioning is class. He`s just gotten better and better by the week, and long may it continue!
Then there`s Frank Nouble, who has his critics, but causes opposition goalkeepers mayhem. He never stops running, and comes off the bench looking to sprint at the goalkeeper to force an error. Fair play to him, he`s eager and will benefit from his attitude.
Ebanks-Blake has struggled with injuries and fitness, but looks to have that touch of class. Hopefully we`ll sign him up in the summer on a longer contract and will see him banging in the goals next season.
What can we expect style-wise tomorrow? How do Ipswich play?
I think you can expect a 4-4-1-1 formation, although Mick likes to line up in a way that cancels the opposition`s formation out. He acknowledged in his pre-match press conference that you play 3-5-2, so he`ll be looking to counter that.
Away from home, our defence is solid, rarely making errors. It`s when our attack is on form when we get the points, like at the Brighton game a few weeks ago. We pass more than fans expect, what with Mick having been labelled as a manager that likes the ‘hoof` style. We look to build attacks up for a good few minutes, which the fans get agitated by, but it has worked on numerous occasions.
Who is likely to make the difference tomorrow? Is there a particular key player or player in form at the moment?
As previously mentioned Daryl Murphy is key to us, but the real threat is Jonny Williams. He`ll be playing just behind Murphy, and is a tricky player – teams can`t figure out how to mark him. He wins free kicks in threatening positions, creates most of our chances and adds that touch of class sides looking at the play-offs need.
When Pulis allowed him to stay for the rest of the season it was a huge relief, losing him would have meant our season would most likely be over by now.
By the sounds of it, a lot of Ipswich fans enjoy coming to Vicarage Road. Tomorrow’s set to be a full house and I’ve been told there will be inflatables and something of a party atmosphere in your end. What’s Town’s impression of the Hornets in general?
I like the stadium, you`re able to generate a good atmosphere at the Vic. I`ve stocked up on inflatables, as have the others, and we`ll be coming for a good day out I suspect.
I like Watford, despite you playing in yellow! I was going mental when Deeney smashed the ball home last season against Leicester, it was a great day for you lot I`m guessing! I know a couple of Watford fans as well, and they`re decent people, your fans just seem like a good bunch!
Most Ipswich fans see you as a bit of a bogey side really, which is understandable given your recent record against us!
If you could take any one player from our squad who would it be and why?
Abdi. You seem to love him, and snooting around your forums you seem delighted to have him back. We could do with either him or McGugan when Williams goes back next season!
Abdi looks like a real threat, and has a good shot too, if he was fit all season I`m sure you`d be higher in the table.
What’s your score prediction for the match?
The pressure is off slightly with tonight`s results going our way, however tomorrow presents us with a great opportunity to get into sixth, where it will then be ours to lose.
My heart says 2-0 Ipswich, we seem to play well when we take big numbers away. However, my head says 1-1, we can`t seem to beat you, and your home record of late is superb.
Here`s to a good game, a cracking atmosphere and what will hopefully be a great result! Good luck!