Ipswich v Pompey: The Insider

Former Pompey winger Luke Varney has been in good form for Ipswich
Former Pompey winger Luke Varney has been in good form for Ipswich

MICK McCARTHY has a background for showing relative disdain to cup competitions.

A few years back he memorably changed his whole team at Wolves for a cup match against Manchester United, and was fined for it.

He’s done a similar thing here at Ipswich, so cup games tend to mean nine or 10 changes.

The difference is, that Ipswich have got more depth to their squad now to be able to make switches.

It will effectively be a reserve team, however, for the game with Pompey.

They have put the reserve keeper up to speak to the press before the game, Bartosz Bialkowski, so that’s an indication of how things will go.

It’s not just the Premier League sides who are making these changes for cup competitions now.

The ultimate priority is promotion and the riches which come with making the Premier League. I’m sure promotion is the main goal for Pompey, too.

Going into the game, Ipswich have not lost too many games this season – six defeats all season.

But it’s been a topsy-turvy kind of campaign, too.

They started the season on fire and were at the top towards the end of August.

That really raised expectations they could kick on after the play-off finish last season.

All of the sudden, though, they won one game in 10 and dropped into the bottom half of the table.

That led to fans re-evaluating their goals for the season, but another twist came at the start of November – they’ve now won seven of their past 10 games.

So it’s been a season of highs and lows so far.

There are warnings there for Ipswich going into the game. There was a cup match against Preston a couple of years back which ended in a draw. That led to an unwanted trip up north for a replay and helped de-rail league form for a period.

Luke Varney is a name Pompey fans will recognise.

He came in on loan at the end of last season and raised eyebrows. His career was going in the wrong direction but McCarthy has got the best out of him.

There’s also been much made of the striking options in David McGoldrick, Brett Pitman, Freddie Sears and Daryl Murphy.

In previous years if the reserves were put out Ipswich would’ve been seriously weakened.

There is like-for-like quality there now, though, so there should be enough for them to win – even with changes being made.