Tommy Smith could go straight back into the Blues’ defence for Saturday’s visit of fellow relegation-fighters Peterborough United to Portman Road.

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The 22-year-old was brought in from the cold by new manager Mick McCarthy for the 2-1 home win over Burnley and he did superbly to keep Charlie Austin quiet. It was only the fourth time in 18 matches that European football’s leading marksmen had failed to find the net.

A return trip of more than 10,000 miles – the centre-back skippering New Zealand to a 1-1 friendly draw in China last Wednesday – saw Smith drop to the bench as McCarthy went with an experienced central defensive pairing of Danny Higginbotham and Luke Chambers for the trip to Leicester City. The Blues were thumped 6-0 as their goal difference plummeted to an embarrassing minus 25.

“I wasn’t pleased (that Smith had to go away on international duty) but I can’t do anything about that,” said McCarthy. “I don’t get wrapped up in all that – that’s the way it is and we will have to manage it.

“I thought he played pretty well (against Burnley). He got better and better in the game.

“When he started, it looked like he had been out for a while as Austin pulled it down and won a few headers – but he never got a kick after that.

“I thought Tommy played well and it’s nice to have the experience of Danny Higginbotham alongside him without any doubt.”

Loaned out to League One side Colchester United at the back end of the 2010/11 season, Smith endured a torrid start to the 2011/12 campaign. Having started the 5-2 defeat at home to Southampton, he was then on the field less than a minute as a substitute before getting sent-off in the 7-1 thrashing at Peterborough United.

Centre-backs Ibrahima Sonko and Danny Collins were brought in on short-term deals as Smith dropped to the bench, but after a brief upturn in fortunes a run of ten defeats from 13 matches followed.

Recalled, Smith went on to start the next 31 games in succession under manager Paul Jewell – nine of them at the start of this season – with the Blues’ record during that time reading W11 D9 L11. Higginbotham’s arrival on loan from Stoke saw Smith relegated to the bench for nine straight matches.

6 comments

  • How sad to see the EADT making the possibility of a talented young Ipswich player regularly playing for Ipswich so unusual that it is newsworthy. Alas you don't have to look far for the reasons behind this rank injustice (not to mention suicidally inept policy). Mick the Man waffles "it’s nice to have the experience of Danny Higginbotham alongside him without any doubt.” Utter rubbish - like all the aged loanees before him, all Higginbottom is doing is filling a space much better utilised by an Ipswich player to the short-term AND long-term detriment of the club... as ably illustrated by Delaney elsewhere.

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    Rob Steroo

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • Good news if true. Play Smith centre back and Chambers at right back and get us as solid as we were against Burnley. Why not bring Loach in as well so we can see a few more players for the future.

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    chantry boy

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • Play him on Saturday for goodness sake.

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    JOHN BURLS

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • a blend of youth and experience usually does the trick,COYB.

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    david peters

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • ONE of the biggest problem's at town is that we don't have any CONTINUITY. And haven't had for the past few years I feel that has to be put in place first. This go's from the Supporters,Players, Fitness staff,Manager,c.e.o, & Owner. Untill all are on the same page much we will stay much the same. Let's put the pride back in the club Together...

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    User Removed

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • Poor old Smith thrown into the den of lions watched by the circus of clowns that are the management team!!!

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    ged scott

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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