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Match Previews


8 January 2016

Bartosz Bialkowski is looking forward to making his first appearance since September, but is cautious of the threat Pompey pose

Bartosz Bialkowski believes that Town will need to be on their guard if they’re to avoid a potential FA Cup third round upset against Portsmouth tomorrow.

Mick McCarthy confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Bart will be starting for the first time since the 3-0 defeat by Manchester United in September, and the Polish goalkeeper is wary of the threat Paul Cook’s side possess.

“We need to approach this game in the right way because they’re a decent team and they have a good chance to go up this season,” he told Ipswich Player HD.

“It’s still going to be a very competitive game even though they’re two leagues below us.

“I’ve been waiting for my chance to play for a good couple of months and I’m looking forward to it. It’s been tough but I’ve kept my head down, trained well and supported Deano [Dean Gerken] which isn’t easy, especially when he’s in the kind of form he’s in.

“We’ve got good healthy competition and that’s what you need. In football you never know when your chance is going to come so you’ve just got to be ready and the gaffer knows I’m ready.”

Team News


Mick McCarthy confirmed his starting line-up for this tie and it includes a debut for new signing, Paul Digby who will slot into the defence alongside Piotr Malarczyk who is making just his second start for the Blues. Luke Varney will make his first start since resigning for the club last month. David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy and Teddy Bishop are out injured, but the rest of the squad are available for selection for the substitutes bench ahead of tomorrow’s game.


Defender, Matt Clarke is ineligible for this game due to the terms in his loan agreement with Town. Elsewhere, Michael Doyle is due to be rested by Pompey, but Matt Tubbs could return to the side. Christian Burgess is ruled out.

Where they stand

Town – 6th (Championship)

Portsmouth – 4th (League Two)


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Last time they met

A first-half Michael Chopra header was enough to give Town all three points the last time these two sides faced off in 2012. Chopra was the quickest to react to a Daryl Murphy header that had struck the post to nod past Pompey ‘keeper, Stephen Henderson with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock at Fratton Part. The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net through a Greg Halford throw-in, but the referee disallowed the goal due to the fact nobody else had touched it, a decision which outraged then-Portsmouth boss, Michael Appleton. 1-0 was how it remained, however, as Town moved up to 17th in the league.

Key Players

Tommy Oar

The Aussie winger hasn’t had too many opportunities in the Town first team since signing in August due to injuries or strong competition in the squad, but he has begun to make his mark with some impressive displays in recent substitute appearances. He will start against Paul Cook’s side on Saturday, and he will no doubt be looking to make an impression to increase his future game time.

Caolan Lavery

The frontman has impressed since joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in October, scoring four times in 13 appearances so far this season. He scored two Championship goals last season for the Owls, and he will be looking to impress his parent club on Saturday. A familiar face after beginning his career at Portman Road.

Sky Bet Odds

The Blues go into Saturday’s FA Cup tie as favourites with the bookies and are currently 17/20 to pick up the victory. Pompey are 3/1, on the other hand, with the draw 13/5.

Match Officials

Referee: David Coote
Assistant Referees: Carl Brook & Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Michael George

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