By Jon Harries
Tuesday night saw a visit to the slightly wet and windy Highbury stadium for our annual midweek visit to the Fylde coast and Fleetwood. The Dons looking to solidify their promotion credentials, Fleetwood looking to create a gap between the bottom 4 and themselves. The Dons controlled the first half in the main, playing their brand of football in the conditions superbly. They took a deserved lead on 12 minutes, a free kick from Twine dispatched by the head of Darling for his second goal in 3 days. Cairns had no chance and with results as they were, second position was a real possibility.
Next Eisa was found with a great ball through by debutant Matt Smith that Cairns did well to come out too, in addition Kesler Haydon was a constant menace down the right, half time and so far, so good.
The second half in truth Fleetwood came out showing more energy. Paddy Lane getting the equaliser after Smith lost possession in the middle of the park and Ellis Harrison played Lane in to fire in at the near post. I feel Cumming may have done better with the shot, although conditions I’m sure would have played a part.
Fleetwood looked more dangerous with Nsiala and substitute Pilkington going close and forcing crucial blocks. I also feel Pilkington was lucky to stay on the pitch, firstly slapping Watson on the head after a foul on halfway then kicking out at Lewington after a tackle (Lewington got booked in that incident). All in all, take the point and move on with rivals losing ground it’s not the worst point of the season given the treacherous conditions.
Saturday sees the Tractor Boys visiting Stadium MK, the potential dark horses in the race for the play offs. Currently 6 points off the play offs, they have won 6 of the first 8 games under new manager Kieran McKenna. The former Manchester United coach is highly regarded within the football community. He took over from Paul Cook who had the strongest squad in L1 IMHO but finding consistency was difficult. McKenna signed Christian Walton permanently from Brighton giving them a very good goalkeeper for the future. Kane Vincent Young is a very good WB and George Edmundson, and Luke Woolfenden are both physical and pacy CBs respectively. The fact they sold Scott Fraser to Charlton six months after buying him from the Dons tells you all you need to know about their depth. Wes Burns, Sone Aluko and Connor Chaplin have stepped up massively since the managerial appointment and Bersant Celina is a technically gifted midfielder. Up top James Norwood, Kayden Jackson, Macauley Bonne and Joe Pigott are an embarrassment of riches at L1 level.
The returning club captain on Saturday Sam Morsy is the Man in Focus ahead of Saturdays fixture. Given a four-game ban by the FA for a “punch” on Accrington Stanley midfielder Ethan Hamilton the Egyptian International, and he should slot straight back into the middle. Able to dictate the tempo break up play and the voice on the pitch he was signed by Cook to be the leader Ipswich were probably missing out of their squad. With 4 assists he gets about the pitch with a swagger and confidence which rubs off on the team. Certainly, will be pivotal to any play-off aspirations in Suffolk.
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
McEachran – Coventry
Corbeanu – Twine – Parrott
Both McEachran and Corbeanu got a midweek rest therefore I expect the pace and control respectively will come straight back in. Parrott is more effective centrally IMHO and can occupy the CBs more hopefully allowing more space for Twine and Corbeanu to exploit. I’m really excited by the Kesler/Corbeanu combination down the right hopefully making its debut on Saturday. I’m predicting a narrow 2-1 win. Ipswich are always likely to score I just feel our confidence is sky high right now and that counts for a lot. Corbeanu and Parrott to score.