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31 March 2017

Town 'keeper looks ahead to the first of a crucial Portman Road double header

Bartosz Bialkowski believes the international break came at a good time for Town, but is now fully focussed on the task in hand.

Birmingham City are the visitors to Portman Road this weekend with both sides looking to secure a victory in order to start climbing the table.

"We needed the break because sometimes it's good to freshen your mind, clear your head, and make sure you're ready for the next game," the 'keeper told Ipswich Player HD.

"It was nice to have a few days off to spend time with my family away from football, but from the beginning of the week we've worked really hard and we're looking forward to Saturday.

"It's up to us to turn things around so we need to start picking up points and winning games to make sure we're safe.

"We've put ourselves into this situation and we need to turn it around, starting with these two home games.

"Birmingham have been just outside the Play-Offs, and now they can't find that form again so they're in the same position as we are now. It will be a massive game for both sides."

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Team News


Mick McCarthy has had an injury boost on all fronts over the international break with a number of players returning from injury. David McGoldrick suffered a knee injury just before the break, forcing him to miss Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales, but has trained and should be OK. It's a similar story for Tom Lawrence who also had to pull out of that qualifier with a groin injury, but he has been out on the grass running, although he didn't join in with full first-team training. Teddy Bishop and Emyr Huws have both trained, but may not be ready to start, whereas Kieffer Moore is fit to play. Dominic Samuel and Jonny Williams came through the U23 draw with Crewe last week unscathed and could also be involve. Adam Webster, Luke Hyam and Giles Coke all remain out.


The Blues could welcome back full-back Cheick Keita from a knee injury that has forced him to miss their last two league matches, and Clayton Donaldson could be in from the start having returned from injury in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle prior to the international break. Gianfranco Zola has no fresh injury worries to deal with, but is still without central defender, Michael Morrison due to a hernia injury.

Where They Stand

Town: 17th
Birmingham: 18th

Last Time They Met

Birmingham scored either side of the half-time whistle to earn three points when the sides last met at St. Andrews back in December. Clayton Donaldson put Gary Rowett's side into the lead with a penalty just before the break after Luke Varney had conceded the spot-kick. Michael Morrison doubled their lead under 10 minutes after the restart with a powerful header from David Cotterill's corner. Adam Webster pulled on back for Town but it wasn't to be as Christophe Berra had a goal dubiously ruled out as the game drew to a close. It was to be Rowett's final game in charge of Birmingham as he departed the club soon after.

Key Players

Tom Lawrence

The Leicester loanee may be a doubt for the visit of Zola's Blues, but he will be raring to go should he be available to play. Tom missed Wales' World Cup Qualifier with Ireland during the international break which would have been a huge disappointment for the man that has been on fire since the turn of the year.  

Lukas Jutkiewicz

The former Burnley forward is Birmingham's top scorer in the Championship this season with 11 strikes to his name thus far. Over half of those have been scored with his head, showing the danger that he poses in the air and his overall physical presence. He has had to fill the void of goals left by Clayton Donaldson in the striker's absence through injury, and he has certainly done that thus far.

Match Officials

Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referees: Neil Davies & Michael George
Fourth Official: Nicholas Kinseley

Sky Bet Odds

Town: 13/10
Draw: 23/10
Birmingham: 21/10

Tweets by @Official_ITFC

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