Match preview: Ipswich Town v Aston Villa - Hurst on keeping things positive ahead of biggest test yet
PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Win, lose or draw, Paul Hurst expects to learn a lot about his Ipswich Town players during their clash with Aston Villa this afternoon.
Just one point was taken from league games against newly-promoted Blackburn and Rotherham, prior to a cup exit at League Two Exeter, with today’s clash against Villa providing Hurst with the biggest test of his Town tenure to date.
His appointment and early days in charge was greeted with wide-spread optimism, with the Blues boss keen to do all he can to ensure that positivity continues despite a tough start to his reign.
“I said from the start that when we get into the season that (positivity) can quickly disappear,” he said.
“There might be some people out there where that has already happened. I can’t do too much about that apart from trying to win games of football. Everyone feels better about life, then, and hopefully we can do that sooner rather than later.
“The game on Saturday presents a big challenge but whatever the result, positive or negative, I think it’s a game I will learn a lot from because it’s different to what we’ve had.
“It will be interesting to see how the players who get the opportunity to put the shirt on react, and how they handle going up against such a big club in front of a big atmosphere at Portman Road.”
Hurst has been less than impressed with some of his side’s defending, describing the goal they conceded at Exeter on Tuesday as ‘pathetic’, with the Ipswich manager looking for his players to cut out the errors
“In general they are quite easy to avoid,” he said.
“The one at Rotherham, (Michael) Smith could hit that ball again so many times and I don’t think it would land where it did. It was a good finish, but a lot of the times it could hit the bar, go over or hit the player on the line.
“A couple of times we have contributed to ourselves with mistakes, so after that there’s not too much (to work on).
“In a couple of the games I didn’t see the opposition scoring, which is a positive.
“I don’t think we are relying on Bart to make lots of saves or are being cut open massively – that said, we have our biggest challenge ahead on Saturday.
“It’s one I’m looking forward to.”
Town team news
- Gwion Edwards should be fit to return to the Ipswich Town side after the Welsh winger missed the game against Exeter due to a quad injury. nJanoi Donacien is likely to play despite leaving Tuesday’s game at St James Park through injury. He is likely to line up at right back as part of a back four also including Toto Nsiala, Luke Chambers and Jonas Knudsen - There are decisions to make in midfield, with Cole Skuse possibly returning after being an unused substitute in Tuesday’s loss. Jon Nolan is likely to start along with Trevoh Chalobah, with Skuse battling with Tayo Edun for a starting position.
- Paul Hurst could also give Kayden Jackson a first Championship start. - Teddy Bishop and Danny Rowe could be involved again but will only be fit enough for the bench.
Villa team news - Both Keinan Davis and Scott Hogan continue to be sidelined by groin injuries, leaving Jonathan Kodjia as the only senior striker available to Steve Bruce - The Villa manager is likely to revert to the side which beat Wigan in their last league game having rested players for the League Cup win at Yeovil.
Villa’s star man The Midlanders ultimately managed to hold onto creative force Jack Grealish despite major interest during the January transfer window. At his best he can be destructive and one of the most creative players in the Championship, either centrally or in wide role.
Betting Ipswich win - 14/5 Villa win -23/20 Draw - 12/5
Referee Tim Robinson (West Sussex)