08 February 2020 16:52
Shape shifting, battling omens and teasing a reaction from the home crowd - talking points as Town head to Sunderland Paul Lambert takes his Ipswich Town side to Sunderland this weekend. Ipswich Town take on Sunderland this weekend in a meeting of two League One big guns. Picture Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com Paul Lambert takes his side to Sunderland this weekend. Ahead of the recent games with Rotherham and Peterborough we spoke of the time being right for Ipswich Town to make a statement and flex their muscles against one of League One's big boys. Picture Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com Luke Garbutt is out injured after suffering a thigh injury against Peterborough.
They should really have beaten Sunderland when the two sides first met in August, in a game which ended in a 1-1 draw, but they now search for that elusive 'statement' victory against a side who have found some form after a sticky spell which cost Jack Ross his job. Fifteen games remain and Ipswich boss Paul Lambert is right when he says 'we can't see the finish line yet', but to be in with a chance of winning the race when the chequered flag does come into view the Blues are going to have to prove their worth against a contender rather than simply picking off back markers. Paul Lambert will be without his two best wing-backs when the Blues visit Sunderland this afternoon, so will that ultimately lead to a change of system? Photo: ROSS HALLS Emyr Huws has been out with an ankle injury but is ready to return. Photo: ROSS HALLS Janoi Donacien could replace the suspended Gwion Edwards at right wing-back.
MORE: Lambert has made his goalkeeping decision ahead of Sunderland visit Ipswich have played in front of crowds of more than 30,000 just twice since, at Wolverhampton Wanderers in December of 2017 (30,218) and at Sheffield United on the day the Blades effectively secured their Premier League place in April of last year (30,140). Phil Parkinson replaced Jack Ross as Sunderland manager earlier this season. Picture: PA Phil Parkinson replaced Jack Ross as Sunderland manager earlier this season. Sunderland's home crowd are as passionate as they come but that passion can sometimes turn to frustration if things aren't going their way. Picture: PA More than 30,000 tickets have been sold for today's game at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland's Phil Parkinson is League One's manager of the month for January, after the Black Cats won four and drew two of their six games. The 'manager of the month curse' has seen less than one in three managers win their next League One game over the last three years, so there's room for some Ipswich optimism there. Lambert won the August award following Ipswich's strong start but Ipswich subsequently drew Doncaster, but three of the other four previous winners this season have won their next games. Woolfenden enjoyed a successful loan spell at League Two's Swindon Town last year, immediately forcing his way into Paul Lambert's plans on his return. Another Ipswich Academy product that has shone in the club's League One campaign is Downes, who has recently formed a solid partnership with Emyr Huws in Town's engine room. He spent time on loan at Nathan Jones' Luton Town and played 10 games in the League Two's title winning side.