Opposition view: What Sunderland can expect ahead of their trip to Ipswich Town
Sunderland make the trip to Ipswich Town this weekend looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening day draw against Oxford United.
On the other hand, Ipswich – who were relegated from the Championship last campaign – began life in League One well by beating Nigel Clough's Burton Albion 1-0 away from home.
The Echo spoke to the Ipswich Star’s football correspondent Andy Warren on what to expect from Paul Lambert’s side ahead of their clash with the Black Cats at Portland Road on Saturday.
What can Sunderland fans expect from Ipswich in terms of their playing style?
AW: Paul Lambert used a 4-4-2 on the opening day of the season at Burton but there’s every chance he’ll revert to something resembling a 4-2-3-1 for this game.
This will mean a return to the side for Alan Judge, who will operate in the hole behind central striker James Norwood and look to get on the ball whenever possible. In that position he can be the driving force of the team, but he’ll be backed up by wingers looking to come inside and support Norwood.
Ipswich play decent football, keep the ball on the floor and showed encouraging one-touch passing moves at Burton. This team is a work in progress, given so many players are out injured, but the signs are promising.
Coming down from the Championship, has Paul Lambert’s squad changed much?
AW: A host of players left the club in the summer at the end of their contracts, with Jonas Knudsen perhaps the most notable after four years as the starting left-back. He’s joined Malmo in Sweden. Will Keane, Trevoh Chalobah, Matthew Pennington and Collin Quaner all returned to their parent clubs after playing significant roles for Ipswich during their loan spells.
Ellis Harrison has been sold to Portsmouth while Bartosz Bialkowski, named the club’s player of the year three times during his five seasons at the club, has been loaned to Millwall.
Tomas Holy and Will Norris have come into the goalkeeping unit, James Wilson has been signed as a stop-gap central defender and Luke Garbutt has been loaned from Everton. James Norwood is the centre-piece of the club’s summer transfer business, arriving on a free transfer after scoring 32 goals for Tranmere last season.
The manager has been vocal in his disappointment at Ipswich's lack of signings, as he sees it, is all well at the club?
AW: There are certainly some frustrations there, no doubt about that. Things have not moved as quickly as he would wish but it’s been clear for some time that there wouldn’t be significant funds thrown around this summer.
Lambert insists he and the owner, Marcus Evans, have a good relationship and are on the same page. Yes there are issues that need sorting but, my feeling is, those issues have been made into more than they really are.
Ipswich started with a decent win away to Burton Albion, will the Tractor Boys be pushing for an immediate return to the second tier?
AW: That’s the expectation and, given the squad at Lambert’s disposal, you have to think they will be in the mix.
As you at Sunderland well know, failing to win promotion at the first attempt can have a real knock-on effect for clubs so Ipswich will be looking to avoid that. It won’t be easy, though. They have a young squad and there will certainly be bumps along the way.
Finally, your predictions for the game...
AW: Ipswich are expecting a crowd of more than 20,000 this weekend which will create a good atmosphere. My heart says they will take advantage of that and continue to build momentum so I’m going for a 2-1 Ipswich win.