Against who will Paul Hurst’s first win come? A look at Ipswich Town’s next six games

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:54 14 September 2018

Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine (left) has been a big injury miss for struggling Hull City. Photo: PA

Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine (left) has been a big injury miss for struggling Hull City. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town have claimed two points from their opening six Championship games. STUART WATSON looks at the six fixtures between now and the next international break.

Striker Neal Maupay (centre) is Brentford's leading scorer with five goals. Photo: PAStriker Neal Maupay (centre) is Brentford's leading scorer with five goals. Photo: PA

HULL CITY (a)

Sat, Sept 15 (3pm)

Current position: 21st

Form: LLLWLDDL

Coincidentally the Tigers have played virtually the same set of league fixtures as Town at the start of the season and have just one more point on the board.

The East Yorkshire side’s sole league win came at Rotherham, with their other point coming from a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

MORE: Bring back Bialkowski or stick with Gerken? Hurst has a big decision to make

They have lost all three home games – against Aston Villa, Blackburn and Derby – scoring just twice in four outings on home soil across all competitions, with the atmosphere at the KC Stadium already a little toxic.

Bolton and Preston players clash towards the end of their recent 2-2 draw. Bolton had battled back from two goals down. Photo: PABolton and Preston players clash towards the end of their recent 2-2 draw. Bolton had battled back from two goals down. Photo: PA

Reflecting on the recent 2-1 defeat to the Rams, under pressure manager Nigel Adkins insisted: “The passion was there for all to see, the quality was there for all to see and the team spirit was there.”

Suffolk-born former Norwich striker Chris Martin (on loan from Derby) and Brighton loan defender Tommy Elphick could make their debuts this weekend.

BRENTFORD (H)

Tues, Sept 18 (7.45pm)

Current position: 5th

Form: WWLDWWDW

The Bees have played some scintillating football at Griffin Park, beating Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest. They will, however, arrive at Portman Road without an away league win to their name following draws against Stoke and Aston Villa, as well as a defeat at Blackburn.

Birmingham City striker Omar Bogle holds his head in his hands. The Midlands side are yet to register their first win of the season. Photo: PABirmingham City striker Omar Bogle holds his head in his hands. The Midlands side are yet to register their first win of the season. Photo: PA

MORE: Good areas, missing the target and defensive hits and misses... the stats summing up Ipswich’s start to the season

Manager Dean Smith wasn’t happy after the 1-0 loss at Ewood Park. He said: “I don’t think the pitch was conducive for good football. They’ll probably put the horses out there later to graze. The defeat’s a tough one to take.”

Five-goal top-scorer Neal Maupay was suspended for the last three matches but is available again for Saturday’s visit of Wigan.

Former Town loanee Bersant Celina signed for Swansea City this summer. Photo: PAFormer Town loanee Bersant Celina signed for Swansea City this summer. Photo: PA

BOLTON WDRS (H)

Sat, Sept 22 (3pm)

Current position: 8th

Form: DLWWLDW

After narrowly avoiding the drop last season and being under a transfer embargo most of the summer, Bolton have got off to a surprisingly good start.

Phil Parkinson’s men started with victory at West Brom and have also beaten Reading (a) and Birmingham (h) – all by a single goal. There have been 2-2 draws with Bristol City (h) and Preston (a), with the sole league defeat coming at home to Sheffield United (3-0).

MORE: ‘It’s how you show people what you’re made of and put yourself on the market’ - Pennington on Ipswich loan

Off-field drama has not gone away though and, on Tuesday, they just about avoided going into administration and being handed a 12-point deduction.

Speaking after the recent two-goal fight back at Deepdale, Parkinson said: “I think the squad is stronger this year, we’ve got more players with Championship experience.”

BIRMINGHAM CITY (A)

Sat, Sept 29 (3pm)

Current position: 20th

Form: DDLDLLD

Following last season’s 19th place finish, the Midlands club appointed Garry Monk as their new boss. Like Paul Hurst, he is yet to taste his first victory in charge following four draws and three defeats across all competitions.

MORE: Collins still training with Ipswich amid continued Aston Villa interest

Speaking after the recent dour goalless at home to QPR – their fifth goalscoring blank in seven – Monk said: “We badly need that first win as we know that in previous games we have done more than enough to have got three points. Looking at the six games so far it will not deter us from what we are doing.”

MIDDLESBROUGH (H)

Tues, Sept 2 (7.45pm)

Current position: 2nd

Form: DWWWDWWD

Tony Pulis has put together a typically organised and physical team that is dangerous from set-pieces. They remain undefeated in all competitions with five wins and three draws, including a recent goalless affair at leaders Leeds.

Aden Flint, Paddy McNair and Jordan Hugill all arrived over the summer, while George Saville and Danny Batth have recently been added on loan.

MORE: ‘I handled it all quite poorly and wasn’t ready but I have no regrets’ - Bowditch on his football journey

Speaking after a 1-0 win against his former club West Brom, Pulis said: “Our two centre-halves (Dael Fry and Aden Flint) look a good pair, the five in midfield again worked really, really hard, while Stewart Downing was always a threat down the right-hand side.”

SWANSEA CITY (A)

Sat, Oct 6 (3pm)

Current position: 7th

Form: WLLDDWW

It’s been a reasonable start for the Welsh side following relegation and a summer of cost cutting under new manager Graham Potter, the former Ostersund boss who Town interviewed.

They’ve beaten Sheffield United (a), Preston (h) and Millwall (a), all by single goal margins, drawn with Birmingham (a) and Leeds (h), with the sole league defeat coming narrowly at Bristol City.

MORE: ‘I think there is a lot more to come from me personally’ - Edwards on his start to life at Ipswich

The likes of Alfie Mawson, Jordan Ayew, Kyle Bartley, Sam Clucas and Lukasz Fabianski were flogged this summer, with former Town loan star Bersant Celina the biggest addition at £3m from Manchester City.

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