Ipswich Vs Derby County - The Opposition View

Last updated : 01 January 2004 By Site Editor
Town will face Derby County and former boss George Burley for the third time this season on Saturday, earlier in the season the blues drew 2-2 with County at Pride Park with goals from Tommy Miller and Darren Bent and won 2-1 in the return game at Portman Road thanks to Darren Bent's first minute goal and an own goal from Mawene.

With Town struggling in defence lately and leaking goals, boss Joe Royle will be hoping his side can not only beat the Rams, but also keep a clean sheet. We spoke to Derby fan Steve about this weekends cup tie, and here are the questions we asked and the answers we recieved:

How do you feel your season is going?
Very Poorly. We're 4 points adrift in the releagation zone with a game in hand. We've also had really bad luck. We signed Junior on a free transfer and he looked good hitting 3 goals in not many games, but he got injured and is out for the rest of the season. We've had Svensson and Dicho on loan to score goals, and once they start finding form their clubs took them back.

At the begining of the season we had a very small and young squad, Burley brought in Taylor from Villa, Walton from Crewe, Candido Costa from Porto and Labarthe-Tome from Peru. He also strengthened the squad with loans, we've had Cadwell from Newcastle, Kennedy from Wigan, Dicho from WBA, Svensson from Charlton, Bradbury from Portsmouth twice.

Looking at the players we've got i can't see anything other than relegation. There has been some bright sparks this season with the emergence of Tommy Huddlestone and Lee Holmes into the first team.

How do you feel Ipswich are doing this season?
Ipswich are like Derby in many ways, relegation hit you had and you got rid of most of your experienced players and as such your having to put youngsters into the first team, that might not be ready for First Division football which is very competitive.

You started poorly but since then you've got your self right up there, and if your didn't have that poor start you might be sitting top of the league now. With the players you've got i can't see you finishing in the top 2, but i can't see you finishing lower than 6th.

Who do you think are your most on form and dangerous players at the moment?
Lee Grant has been on form since the Millwall game, and commands his area very well, some Derby fans get on his back and call him for little mistakes, but it needs to be remembered that he's only 19 - 20 years of age.

As for dangerous players if they pull their fingers out and go for it we've got a quick attack, with Holmes and Costa on the wings, both quick and got good feet and can put good crosses in. As for Manel our new Spanish striker we're waiting to see if he's the target man we've missed since Svensson went back to Charlton.

Are there any youngsters or unsung talents in the squad we may not have heard of?
Lee Camp, young goalkeeper, expect him to be pushing for number 1 spot this time next year. Pablo Mills strong center back. Holmes and Doyle, both 16, Holmes is in the first team, Doyle on the verge. Huddlestone big strong 17 year old.

How do you rate George Burley as Manager?
Undecided. Some of his tactics are strange, and it still to be seen whether or not the players are working for him. It seems at the minute they're not and it makes you wonder whether or not the players like him. Seems to be out on the piss in Derby quite a bit too.

What Ipswich players do you feel could cause your side problems?
Counago and Reuser are both talented players. Darren Bent looks good and if you keep hold of him he'll be one for the future.

What sort of line-up can we expect from you?
A very young line-up, with only 3 players with much experience. Manel is a striker we've signed this week from Spain, scored 100 goals in 200 something games for Espanyol and other clubs. As of time of writting 13:30 on 1/1/2004 Derby are still waiting for Internation clearence for him to play, but there shouldn't be a problem.

- Lee Grant (England Under 21 Keeper. Started the season competeing with Andy Oakes for the number 1 spot, but due to an injury to Oakes he's made the spot his own. As of late he's been playing really when and is rumoured to being watched by Man City.)

- Richard Jackson (Right back, young but slowly making the right back spot his own since the departure of Warren Barton. Won the Sammy Crooks young player of the year in 2001/2002 whilst captaining the reserves.)

- Michael Johnson (Signed for an undisclosed fee from Birmingham in the summer. He added much needed experience and was unlucky to hit the bar in the 90th minute of the 1 - 1 draw with local rivals Forest.)

- Youl Mawene (Signed from Lens for £500,000 at the begining of the 2000/2001 season. Been injury plagued since we signed him. Was out of favour at the end of last season, then he had a good pre-season this year before being injured in the last game and ruled our for a number of months. Since then he's worked himself back into the team and Burley says he's the best center back in the league, always cool on the ball. You might remember him for an own goal at your ground in December.)

- Luciano Zavagno (Attacking left back who likes to get forward, puts in a decent cross and scores the odd goal. Top earner at the club, still on premiership wages and a move to a Russia fell though in the summer.)

- Adam Bolder (Scored 6 goals last season and started most games in what what was his first proper season being involved. Was out of favour at the begining of the season but over the last month Burley's brought him back into the team. Small hardworking midfielder.)

- Tommy Huddlestone (Can play center back or center midfield, but Burley seems to play him out on the right aswell. He turned 17 last Sunday and can sign a proffesional contract with us now. Got a very promising future ahead of him. Think he's made the most appearances for us this season, whilst still only 16 years. Over 6ft tall and built like a battle tank.)

- Ian Taylor (Signed on a free transfer from Aston Villa in the summer, at 35 he's near the end of his career but has still scored 7 goals this season. In the summer Burley gave him the captains armband.)

- Lee Holmes (He broke an FA Cup record when he became the youngset ever player to play in the competition, he come off the bench in the defeat to Brentford at the age of 15 and 267 days. He's now turned 16 and has near enough started or came off the bench in the last 18 games, scoring two goals on the way. He's got quick feet and good sight and it won't be long before a big club comes in for him.)

- Manel (Big Spanish lad, Burley's brought him in to add some power upfront and hold the ball up. Hopefully makes his debut on Saturday.)

- Marcus Tudgay (Young striker, 20 years of age. Been thrown into the first team due to the lack of players available upfront. Got a serious injury at the end of last season and at a time when the club let alot of players go we offered him a month to month contract. Since he came back from injury scored 2 goals and the club rewarded him with a contract till the end of the season.)

And on the bench it could be any 5 of the following.
- Lee Camp (Goalkeeper, represents England at under 19 level. Made only one senior appearance and that was during the 3 - 2 defeat away to Walsall at the end of last season.)

- Pablo Mills (19 years of age, plays center back and is built big and solid. Good header of the ball. Since making his debut against Brighton in December last year he went on to feature in most the remaining games. Has played at right and left back, but his true position is center back. Nicknamed "Sol" by his England Under 19 colleague's due to his resemblance.)

- Candido Costa (Signed on a season long loan from Porto in the summer. Plays on the right wing, not got much pace but full of tricks and host got a good cross and shot on him. Known as the "new Figo" in Portugal.)

- Lee Morris (Derby's record signing in a deal that rose to £4,000,000 with appearances from Sheffield United whilst he was still only 18. Can play upfront or out on the wing, his best position being upfront. Got quick feet but does get a lot of stick from the Derby fans due to his lack of efford and commitment to the cause.)

- Paul Boertien (Not featured much this season, normally on the bench because of the fact he can play left back, left midfield and center midfield.)

- Lee Bradbury (Signed on a 2 month loan from Portsmouth. We signed him on loan in August, and on his debut he broke his foot against Gillingham. We sent him back and took him back on loan when he returned fitness. Good at holding up the ball but very poor shot. Should score more goals. He left the army and went to Portsmouth, whom Man City paid £3,000,000 for him.)

- Izale Mcleod (Made his debut at Portman Road last season where he had a goal ruled out for offside. Still very inexperienced and only 19 years old. Got bags of pace but doesn't know what to do with it.)

Predicted score?
On the current teams peformance aslong as we don't get hammered would be a good score. But from talking to some of your fans on forums it seems your team hasn't been performing well as of late so it might be a tight call. Hoping for 1 - 0 to us but more than likely it will be 3 - 0 to Ipswich.

Thanks to Steve for the Answers.