Town defender extends his contract by a further year as he closes in on his 250th appearance
Tommy Smith admits that the triggering of a further year on his contract was a deal that was suited both himself and the club, although he will open talks on an extended deal in the summer.
The academy product, who was due to be out of contract in the summer, is set to play in his 250th game for the Club this evening as Town take on Fulham at Portman Road and he hopes the Blues can find their scoring touch in the final few matches of the season.
“The Club had an optional year and I’ve been told they’re going to take that up so it’s good news for both parties,” he told Ipswich Player HD on extending his deal.
“I’ll leave further talks to my agent. We’ll see what happens in the summer, but I have to just concentrate on my football and the remaining games of the season.
“We’ve still got a slight hope of the Play-Offs so until it’s mathematically impossible, we’ll still be doing all we can to close that gap.
“You can’t quite put your finger on what has gone wrong recently, we haven’t scored enough goals and we had a few games where we didn’t score on the bounce but the hardest thing to do in football is put the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve been working hard on trying to improve that part of our game and trying to play a bit more rather than going route one.
“When you’re not scoring goals it’s easy to say we’re not playing well but it’s not been too bad, it’s just putting the ball in the net and that’s what we’ll be trying to do for the rest of the season.”
Mick McCarthy confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Monday that Andre Dozzell will make his first start for the Blues this evening after opening his account at the weekend. He also noted, however, that Daryl Murphy will remain out with the calf injury that he sustained whilst on international duty with Ireland. Cole Skuse should also be available after his late withdrawal through at Hillsborough on Saturday while Luke Hyam returns from his one match suspension. Luke Varney, Giles Coke and Ryan Fraser remain out, and Ben Pringle is ineligible to face his parent club.
Tom Cairney could return for the Cottagers’ trip to Suffolk after the midfielder missed his sides last two matches with a dead leg sustained against Preston. Defender, Michael Madl is a doubt although Rohan Ince should return to the side after missing Fulham’s 5-0 loss at Brighton on Friday due to the game being against his parent club.
Where They Stand
Town – 8th
Fulham – 20th
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Last Time they met
Freddie Sears scored with less than 20 seconds on the clock when Town visited Craven Cottage in December. The striker raced through to slot past Andy Lonergan in the opening moments of the game, although Ross McCormack would level a quarter of an hour later with a thunderous free-kick from 30 yards. The three points would be heading back to Suffolk, though, as Brett Pitman steered home a Sears cross early in the second-half giving Town their fourth consecutive away victory.
The striker completed 90 minutes in the league for just the fifth time this season at Hillsborough on Saturday as he started a game for the first time since October in the 1-1 draw. Didz has just four games left of the season now to stake his claim for a place in Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad so he will be looking to impress Martin O’Neill with the few matches that remain.
The striker was on a three-man shortlist for the Championship player of the season on Sunday, and perhaps count himself unlucky to miss out to Burnley’s Andre Gray. He has scored 21 times, and assisted a further eight, so far this season as he has helped the Cottagers to becoming the second highest league scorers so far. His partnership with Moussa Dembele up from has produced 35 goals this season, so the duo will a dangerous pairing this evening.
Sky Bet Odds
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant Referees: Adrian Sannerude & Oleksandr Saliy
Fourth Official: Richard Kendall
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