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Ipswich Town 3 v 2 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Monday, 1st April 2024 Kick-off 17:30
Southampton At Ipswich Town The Preview
Sunday, 31st Mar 2024 11:45

After the disappointment of Saturday's game against Middlesbrough, Saints get back into it quickly and travel to Portman Road knowing that anything less than a win will see our hopes of automatic promotion all but ended.

I am starting to sound like a broken record these days, but again on Saturday we paid the price for not having our strongest defence on the park, crucially in the final stages of the game.

No one is pointing any fingers at Jack Stephens directly, indeed he had a reasonable enough game against Boro, however he is not the best player to play in a central pairing, that has to be Jan Bednarek & Taylor Harwood - Bellis.

So all eyes will be on Russell Martin and this will be a test of his own leadership, is he strong enough to recognise just what it was that built the foundation of a 22 game unbeaten run.

The manager often cites Jack's organising and leadership qualities as why he seemingly will play him at any chance, however in the final minutes of the game on Saturday, just when you need to keep things tight, there was little sign of any sort of leadership or organisation and of game management, to put it bluntly we just kept on playing as if we had 30 minutes left on the clock.

We needed to change tack a little and look to close out the game, but instead we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot and Boro were pulling us all over the place at the back.

So in what is the first of what hopefully will be a couple of more last chance saloon's we go to Ipswich knowing that defeat will all but finish off our hopes of automatic promotion as it will leave us 13 points behind the Tractor Boys and possibly more behind Leeds.

Our best side has to be put out for this one, that means KWP at right back, Bednarek & THB in the middle and Bree at left back, if he has to shoe in Jack Stephens then it has to be at left back, but no manager should be shoeing in players at this point of the season.

Jack Stephens has been the butt of much criticism of late and it is no secret that I am not his biggest fan, but I do give him credit where it is due, he played well on Saturday and showed that as a squad player he is a good alternative in several positions, but good squad players should not play in front of those who are better than them, especially in a game as tough as this.

I would say that the team for this one should pretty much pick itself, that means Bednarek back in for Stephens, the starting midfield trio from Saturday and then Ryan Fraser on the left, Adam Armstrong in the middle and David Brooks on the right.

Get the game under our control and then keep control of it.

So judgement day for Russell Martin at Portman Road, hopefully he will be judged well and we will live to fight another day.

Photo: Action Images

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saintmark1976 added 13:29 - Mar 31
Nick, I appreciate that the clocks were adjusted overnight which may have caused a problem for some but we didn’t play Middlesbrough on Saturday, we threw two points away on Good Friday.

Secondly, it wasn’t Jack Stephen’s fault that our automatic promotion prospects were all but ended on that day. It was down to our forwards being unable to convert numerous chances together with Russell Martin’s now regularly inability to use our substitutes properly.

derbydog added 13:42 - Mar 31
We didn’t really have any choice in playing Stevens with Bednarek on 9 yellow cards and the limit going up after Friday. You could have been big enough to mention Stevens’ brilliant goal saving last ditch tackle which was brilliant. On this occasion it was the forwards’ fault we didn’t win.

SaintPaulVW added 14:27 - Mar 31
TBF I think Bednarek was injured according to RM, may not be available for tomorrow either.

NewburySaint added 14:53 - Mar 31
I fear for us tomorrow - Ipswich like to get crosses into the box and with Kieffer Moore & co around, if we defend like we did on Friday I don’t think it’s going to end well….

halftimeorange added 15:15 - Mar 31
If we can't pass more accurately (unlike Boro with their constant switching from right to left) and our midfield doesn't recognise forward runs by any number of players for a ball over the top, we won't get anything at Ipswich. Friday was largely a borefest in the second half with our constant sideways safety. Add to that a GK who isn't reliable then we won't be winning the play-offs.

JoeEgg added 16:17 - Mar 31
To be honest the Ipswich game could go either way - the same could be said for the Leicester and Leeds matches.
Maybe Adams will start as by the law of something or other he must score one day - then again maybe not.
Our midfield is by far the weakest of the top four Championship teams and I cant see any alternatives unless you throw in Aribo and Rothwell, and they both manage 'on' days at the same time..
If the Middlesbrough game proved anything it was quite simply that playing the way we do we, with the players we are selecting, with a manager who belongs firmly in the Championship, we are simply not good enough for promotion.

DellBoyWally added 16:36 - Mar 31
Why play Adams? He's leaving, everyone knows it. He isn't playing for his place or future. Get someone in who is playing for a spot next season - Mara? At least till Stewart is fit (??????)
Our on- loan keeper Lis is in stunning form, a sackful of clean sheets and a super-high save percentage, far exceeding Baz's. His residency permit should be up for next season so maybe a change there?
Monday? Not driving down from Yorkshire on a BH so will watch the game in comfort and with the benefit of an off switch. I am not hopeful of a good result so will be hoping we get to 3rd for a 12.30pm ko on 12 May!

Farlow added 17:06 - Mar 31
Aribo must come in to give the midfield some bite.Mara would not have missed the chances Adams did so give him a go cause you cant play a front 3 of pygmies

Colburn added 22:54 - Mar 31
I’ve said time and time again that the author of this site is a decent back up author, good squad amateur journalist but shouldn’t be writing ahead of more fair and accurate pens. Sometimes he doesn’t know what day it is, get’s peoples names mixed up, doesn’t bother to read through and correct his mistakes and repeats himself with the same tiresome anti-Jack rhetoric week after week.. I appreciate he has been a good servant, giving up his time and all that but at this stage of the season we should have our best authors on offer or we will just become a site of has beens and fade away.. A good squad journalist but not a time to shoehorn him in this weekend.

Colburn added 10:05 - Apr 1
Nobody is pointing any fingers at JS directly is it..? Aside from you every week. We missed chances to put the game to bed, again, JS pulled off a fantastic last ditch tackle and yet you blame him for our dropped points. Your weak attempts to hide this amongst compliments, which are merely more insults, are rather pathetic and an insult to the intelligence of the reader. But you’ve found your scapegoat for the season after previous years of digs. It has become personal for you and your denials of this further insult the reader. It’s about time you grew up and found another emotional punch bag to deal with your childish disappointments or go and support the skates..
We need to be together as a team and fan base to achieve success and stop this constant finger pointing whilst claiming your hands are in your pockets.

LordDZLucan added 12:24 - Apr 1
Hear hear, Colburn. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I can only assume it’s deliberate and designed to get angry supporters such as us to access his reports thereby generating more advertising revenue for his pension fund. It’s certainly not objective journalism and is tantamount to bullying given that it is so incessant.

allsaint54 added 17:07 - Apr 1
Just seen teamsheets. Stephens playing instead of KWP. WTF IS RM PLAYING AT.

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