May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Dave Gooderham
Friday, April 27, 2012
WITH one team in mid-table and the other already consigned to lower league football, Town’s trip to Doncaster Rovers is a typical end-of-season dead rubber.
Try telling that to the loyal band of 1,200 Town fans who are making the early start for the 12.30pm kick off at the Keepmoat.
Some will be in fancy dress, all will be cheering as they say goodbye to an ultimately underwhelming 2011/12 campaign the only way they know how.
They would have seen highlights, but far too many low-lights and will look back on the season with little fondness.
Paul Jewell admitted: “It’s been a long difficult season in lots of ways. We’re at the final hurdle now and I believe we’re taking 1,200 supporters there so it would be nice to put on a decent performance and get a result for them as much as anything.
“We’d have liked to have done that last week at home (the 3-0 defeat to Millwall) because the home fans have been great as well, but it didn’t happen. We need to put a show on for ourselves.”
Town fans will also not want to end the weekend, and their season, with the unwanted record of watching the side’s worst season for 55 years.
But it will happen if Ipswich lose at Rovers and Crystal Palace and Millwall both win their home matches.
For many, this campaign cannot end quickly enough. But those 1,200 fans – and many more – will soon be getting their hopes up over battles ahead.
Town’s team news has been dominated by one man – Grant Leadbitter – but he has not travelled with the squad after telling Jewell he would not be signing a new deal with Ipswich.
With Lee Bowyer not offered a new contract, that leaves Andy Drury and Ryan Stevenson as the central men tasked with ending the season on a high at bottom club Doncaster Rovers.
Jewell confirmed that 16-year-old Byron Lawrence would once again be in the 18-man matchday squad while Josh Carson should be on the bench at least.
But Luke Hyam will miss out once more with his thigh injury while Lee Martin (groin) is a doubt.
If midfield could give Jewell some dilemmas, the identity of his left-back will also be interesting following the hamstring injury suffered by Supporters’ Player of the Year Aaron Cresswell last Saturday.
Most supporters would love to see youngsters Jack Ainsley or Joe Whight given a chance but Jewell appeared to rule that out yesterday, as well as a last appearance for veteran Mark Kennedy.
One of Tommy Smith or Damien Delaney seem favourite to start left-back with Ibrahima Sonko in the centre.
While Doncaster have a number of injury problems to contend with, they go into tomorrow’s final match on the back of two clean sheets – for the first time this season.
They are likely to start with a 4-1-4-1 formation with James Hayter replacing Chris Brown who went off with a knee injury during last weekend’s away win at Coventry.
Definitely out are El Hadji Diouf (hamstring), Brian Stock (groin) and Pascal Chimbonda who has struggled with a series of injuries.