Morecambe will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to 2023 on Tuesday 24 January when they take on Ipswich Town away from home in Sky Bet League One.
The Shrimps began 2023 with a 5-0 win over Burton Albion and, in their most recent game, overcame Cheltenham Town 2-1 at the Mazuma Stadium on 7 January.
Freezing temperatures meant our home clash against Port Vale originally scheduled for 21 January was postponed whereas structural damage to a stand at Cambridge United the week before put a halt to that fixture.
Ipswich were last in action on 21 January where The Tractor Boys fell to a 2-1 defeat away from home against Oxford United.
Town currently sit third in League One, seven points behind Sheffield Wednesday in second who occupy the final automatic promotion spot after 27 games.
Ipswich have had plenty of success since they were formed 144 years ago in 1878. They won the first division, the equivalent of the Premier League, in 1962. The Tractor Boys are two time Second Division, now Championship, winners. In addition, Tuesday night's opponents have an FA Cup title to their name having won the competition in 1978 when a Rodger Osborne goal secured a 1-0 win over Arsenal in the final.
Manager Kieran McKenna, 36, is currently in his first senior management job having spent time in charge of Tottenham and Manchester United’s U18s before moving to Portman Road in December 2021.
Striker Conor Chaplin has been key to Town’s success so far this season. The centre forward has netted 13 goals to-date and has chipped in with three assists. The 25-year-old is an experienced front man in the EFL having spent five years at Portsmouth where he was promoted to the senior team in 2014. Since moving to Suffolk in 2021 from Barnsley, Chaplin has scored 19 goals in 65 appearances.
Freddie Ladapo has vast experience throughout his career so far having played for 13 clubs in the last ten years. However, the striker seems to have settled at Ipswich and is second to Chaplin in Town’s goalscoring chart. The 29-year-old has scored nine goals this season and has two assists. Ladapo helped secure The Tractor Boys' place in the FA Cup fourth round with his most recent goal coming in Town’s 4-1 win over Rotherham in the third round.
Welshman Wes Burns has made an impact from out wide for Ipswich this season with six goals and five assists. The versatile 28-year-old is able to play as a winger, wing back and a full back when needed. He spent four years in Lancashire with Fleetwood Town before moving to Portman Road in 2021.
Kieran McKenna’s Thoughts
Speaking on the official Ipswich Town YouTube channel, manager Kieran McKenna said he’s expecting a challenging game on Tuesday night.
“They’ve put in some good performances and got some good results,” he said.
“It’s strange they haven’t played for two and a half weeks but our focus is just on ourselves.
“We know it’s very rare you’re going to get an easy game in this league, every game is going to be a challenge and we have to be ready for that.”
Jake Taylor, Max Melbourne and Courtney Duffus will all be unavailable on Tuesday as they continue their recoveries from injury.
While Kieran Phillips' loan spell from Huddersfield Town was cut short due to injury, new signings Dynel Simeu, Daniel Crowley and Michael Mellon could feature.
Meet The Officials
David Rock will take charge on Tuesday night with Paul Kelly and Paul Yates alongside him as assistants; fourth official Damith Bandara completes the line up.
Rock has taken charge of 17 games this season, seven in League One, four in League Two, and two in Papa Johns Trophy, FA Cup and Carabao Cup respectively.
The official last took charge of a Shrimps game in April 2021, a 2-1 defeat against Cambridge United in League Two.
Supporters who aren't making the journey to Portman Road can enjoy full coverage of the game from home with an iFollow Shrimps Video Match Pass. Click here for more information!