By Giuseppe Muro
In just his third game as manager, Paul Jewell has the chance to take Ipswich Town to a Wembley Final.
Tamas Priskin’s second-half strike at Portman Road has given the Championship side a slender advantage heading into tonight’s Carling Cup Semi-Final second leg.
But do the Tractor Boys have a realistic chance of completing the job tonight? We spoke to Elvin King of the Ipswich Evening Star to an opposition view on tonight’s game.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
I think the Ipswich fans were [surprised by the way they played in the first leg]. Before then they had been on a very poor run. They had beaten Leicester in the snow just before Christmas but other than that their only win since early November had been in the Carling Cup Quarter Final against West Brom. It was their best performance of the season by some distance and it came after the 7-0 thrashing at Chelsea.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Of course it will be tough, Ipswich are well aware that they are complete underdogs. The Championship is of paramount importance for them. Getting to Wembley would be a bonus. Jewell said he watched Arsenal play on Match of the Day against Wigan on Saturday and had to turn the television off after a few minutes because they were playing so well.
I have spoken to one or two players [about Cesc Fabregas’ comments] and I think they are taking it in their stride really. They know that Cesc is a great footballer and he is entitled to his opinion. I don’t think it has caused too much of a stir, I don’t think his comments will be pinned up in the dressing room at Emirates Stadium. Obviously, Ipswich will be looking to go there and use the same tactics as they did in the first leg. After a dodgy half-an-hour or so, where it perhaps looked like Arsenal might score at any time, Ipswich probably deserved to win. Who would blame Ipswich for that? They had their tactics worked out and came through on the night.
THE MAN IN CHARGE
He has settled in well. The change [in managers] has lightened the mood [in the dressing room]. This will actually be his first Cup game in charge of Ipswich and he has admitted that he feels a bit of a fraud because he is close to Wembley without actually doing anything. Ipswich went behind against Doncaster [on Saturday] but Ipswich hit back and that’s the sort of character and belief that perhaps they wouldn’t have shown before Christmas.
THE ONE TO WATCH
I’m sure Connor Wickham will be keen to impress again. He has just committed himself to Ipswich by signing a one-year extension which takes him up until the summer of 2013 and scored his first goal of the season against Doncaster. He has been troubled by injury and there is no doubt about it, he is playing as well now as he has done in his short career. Although he is only 17, he is very mature and will relish playing on the big stage. I’m sure it will bring the best out of him.