Meet the opposition: Ipswich Town

4th October 2018
First team

As Swansea City get set to welcome Ipswich Town to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, we take a closer look at the men from Portman Road.

What’s their story?

Ipswich have been in the second tier since dropping out of the top flight back in 2002, and finished 12th last term.

Ipswich played in the inaugural season of the Premier League in 1992-93 and have had four further campaigns at the highest level since then.

Uefa Cup winners in 1981, the Tractor Boys also have an FA Cup and a league championship trophy in their cabinet.

They have not played outside the top two divisions since way back in 1957.

 

How’s their form?

Ipswich are in the relegation places having taken only six points from their opening 11 games of the season.

There have been plenty of draws so far – against Blackburn, Aston Villa, Norwich, Brentford and Bolton at home and away at Birmingham on their last road trip.

But they were beaten at home for the first time in 2018-19 by Middlesbrough in midweek, while they have suffered away losses at Rotherham, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull.

 

Who’s the boss?

Paul Hurst. Hurst spent 15 years as a player at Rotherham United, making 438 appearances before hanging up his boots in 2008.

He graduated from Staffordshire University in the same year with a degree in professional sports writing and broadcasting but moved into management with non-league Ilkeston Town alongside joint boss Rob Scott the following year.

The duo then had a stint at Boston before switching to Grimsby, where Hurst took sole charge in 2013.

He led the Mariners to promotion to the Football League in 2016, beating Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the National League play-off final.

Hurst then moved to Shrewsbury Town, who he led to last season’s League One play-off final.

He signed a three-year deal at Ipswich in May following the departure of Mick McCarthy towards the end of last season.

 

Who are the key men?

Former Swans youngster Gwion Edwards joined Ipswich in the summer and has impressed so far, scoring twice in 11 appearances. The 25-year-old, who was born in Carmarthen, scored 11 goals for Peterborough in League One last season.

Ipswich suffered a blow last week when on-loan forward Jon Walters returned to parent club Burnley after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury.

Polish World Cup squad member Bartosz Bialkowski has lost his place in goal to Dean Gerken this season.

Captain Luke Chambers has been a mainstay in the Ipswich side since joining from Nottingham Forest in 2012, while Congolese defender Toto Nsiala has been a regular since following Hurst from Shrewsbury.

Young midfielder Trevoh Chalobah – brother of Watford’s Nathaniel – is on loan from Chelsea and could line up alongside the experienced Cole Skuse.

Kayden Jackson, a summer signing from Accrington, is joint-leading scorer alongside Edwards with two goals this season.