Ipswich will test squad’s resolve
PORTMAN Road hasn’t traditionally been the most successful of away grounds as far as Boro are concerned.
But whenever they do win at Ipswich, it’s usually a sign of a productive season.
In fact Boro’s last win at the East Anglian stadium came in 2015 when Aitor Karanka’s side ended up winning promotion to the Premier League.
The Teessiders triumphed by 2-0 on that occasion thanks to goals from Cristhian Stuani and David Nugent.
The winning Boro line-up contained the likes of Dimi Konstantopoulos, Daniel Ayala, George Friend, Adam Clayton, Stewart Downing and Grant Leadbitter, all of whom are still with the club.
It was the club’s first win at Portman Road for 22 years, which indicates the degree of difficulty in the fixture.
At the same time Boro need to take full advantage of the Tractor Boys’ slow start to the season when they travel to Portman Road on Tuesday night.
New Ipswich manager Paul Hurst inherited a side which was starting to slip slightly under former boss Mick McCarthy.
The former Sunderland boss never had a great deal of money to spend but generally used his cash wisely to maintain a workmanlike side which kept its head above water.
However Hurst lost some key players upon his arrival because Ipswich were forced to sell several star men during the summer.
One of them, defender Adam Webster, went to Bristol City for £3.5m in as a replacement for Aden Flint, who joined Boro.
Martyn Waghorn, who had been a summer target for Tony Pulis, was sold to Derby and Joe Garner went to Wigan.
Hurst signed seven players in the summer, all of them from lower league football, including two from Accrington and two from Shrewsbury.
As a result the new-look team is not yet in gear despite the fact that Hurst claims that the mood in the dressing room is bubbly.
No games in the Championship should ever be considered easy meat, but Boro should go to Portman Road believing they are good enough to take all three points again.