Ipswich Town vs. Colchester: Luke Chambers and Skuse return


Ipswich Town faces Colchester United with many familiar faces tonight. Andy Warren is looking forward to the game.

The winner takes it all

Before approaching the players on the pitch in this match, it should be noted that both teams face a “winner takes all” scenario.

The West Ham Under-21s have already qualified, beating Gillingham last month, and one of tonight’s entrants will join them.

The easiest route is to just win the match and claim three points, but if neither team is able to do it in 90 minutes, the match will go on a penalty shootout to decide which team takes two points from. this clash. This would be enough for the winner to qualify for the knockout stages of this tournament.

Conor Chaplin celebrates scoring Ipswich’s second goal during the second half at Gillingham in the Papa John’s Trophy
– Credit: Pagepix Ltd

If Ipswich wins in 90 minutes and scores two goals in the process, they will lead the group and secure a home draw in the next round. A 1-0 win, however, would mean the Hammers would win the squad due to their victory at Portman Road earlier this season.

Town would then be on the road in the last 32, just as they would with a shootout win.

Defeat means the end of the road in this competition, with the U in the lead.

Knowing me, knowing you

As well as being a decision maker on the pitch, the cast of players involved means it’s probably as exciting as it was in the EFL Trophy group stage.

And that’s because the Colchester United squad have 1,466 appearances at Ipswich Town between them.

How many of them play this game remains to be seen, although all of them will surely want to play on the Portman Road field once more.

Main among those pushing to play will be Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse who, along with Freddie Sears and Alan Judge, made their way to the A12 this summer after leaving Portman Road.

Alan Judge in action at Colchester United

Alan Judge impressed against Town in preseason
– Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Skuse is yet to be in the trophy this season, while Chambers played as the Us beat West Ham in their second game. The two began as Colchester beat Sudbury 4-0 in front of a BBC audience on Tuesday night.

Sears is Colchester’s leading scorer this season, with six in all competitions, while Judge has not played in a month due to a calf problem. A return tonight is not impossible, however.

The four have joined a pre-existing group of former Ipswich players in Essex, led by current Colchester skipper Tommy Smith. He was however called up by New Zealand for a game against Gambia in Abu Dhabi tonight.

Colchester United's Freddie Sears looking to pass AFC Sudbury's Marley Andrews - AFC Sudbury vs.

Freddie Sears, pictured in action against Sudbury on Friday night
– Credit: Richard Blaxall

Goalkeeper Dean Gerken played at Portman Road last week, but for the U-23s, having hardly played first-team football this season. The 36-year-old’s only appearance this season was in the trophy against West Ham, so a nostalgic appearance tonight cannot be ruled out.

Then there are Frank Nouble and Tom Eastman. Nouble made 60 appearances for the Blues under Mick McCarthy, while Eastman went through the Ipswich youth system and made 13 appearances, before moving to Colchester and making 426 for the U. He has 30 years now.

Armando Dobra, currently on loan from Town, is on an international assignment with the Albanian Under-21s, having previously played for Ipswich in that competition anyway.

Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse after the loss at Rotherham Photo Pagepix

Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse could play against Ipswich Town tonight
– Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Thanks for the music

Chambers and Skuse have made nearly 700 appearances in Ipswich between them.

They led forward through the peaks of Mick McCarthy’s time in charge and continued to be figureheads within the squad as things went wrong under Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert.

A third Paul, Cook, made the decision to leave the duo this summer, releasing them at the end of their contracts.

The move came just two days after Town beat Fleetwood on the last day of last season, a game played in front of empty stands. This denied the duo the farewell that their years of dedication and service certainly deserved.

The debate over their role in Town’s decline in recent years boils down to a matter of personal opinion. Was their leadership in the squad the issue when Town was relegated in 2019, or was it the fact that a group of experienced second-tier players gave way to an unproven group at the championship level? The same debate can take place regarding Town’s inability to factor in League One’s promotion race over the past two seasons. How much of this rests on Chambers and Skuse and how much is due to other factors?

Port Vale's Devante Rodney (left) and Colchester United's Luke Chambers fight for the ball during t

Luke Chambers, pictured in action for Colchester
– Credit: PA

The truth is, as it so often turns out, probably somewhere in the middle of it all.

But surely even those who blame the two seasoned pros can recognize the professionalism, commitment and passion with which the duo have represented Ipswich for so long.

Chambers now has his place in the top 10 appearance designers in Ipswich Town history, alongside legendary personalities. Both men were active in the community during their time as Ipswich players, with Skuse being a particularly strong role model in this regard. You’ll hear nothing but intense praise for the duo from the club members.

The city has evolved. Chambers and Skuse have also moved on. So tonight’s game is a perfect opportunity to recognize everything they have given to the club during their time here.

Make no mistake about it, however. They return to Portman Road to try and hand over their old team.

Vaklav Hladky applauds the traveling support in Cambridge.

Vaclav Hladky set to start in Ipswich Town’s goals tonight
– Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Give me a chance

“The squad will change on Tuesday,” Cook confirmed after Saturday’s draw against Oldham. “We have a lot of players who want to play and that will be reflected in the team selection.

“I think the fans who pay a lot of money to get in, I think they can be pretty comfortable knowing that’s the situation, so if they want to pay their money that’s what will happen.”

Joe Pigott celebrates his first half goal at Gillingham

Joe Pigott celebrates his goal in Town’s last EFL Trophy match
– Credit: Pagepix Ltd

All of this means a chance for players currently outside of Cook’s first team to claim a claim in this game.

Vaclav Hladky, Luke Woolfenden, Cameron Burgess, Matt Penney, Idris El Mizouni, Rekeem Harper, Scott Fraser, Kayden Jackson, Louis Barry and Sone Aluko surely all hope to play as they try to make their way through.

Myles Kenlock might even be involved again, having returned from the extreme cold in Gillingham in the final group match.

All will seek to prove a point.

Albie Armin in action.

Albie Armin could be involved again tonight
– Credit: Steve Waller – www.stephenwaller

I have a dream

Much of the preparation for this game will discuss soccer players in their 30s, but this tournament usually offers a route to senior soccer for younger players. Surely a few from Ipswich will be involved tonight.

Zanda Siziba, Albie Armin, Cameron Humphreys, Elkan Baggott, Tete Yengi, Matt Ward and Fraser Alexander have all been on the cup teams this season.

Some or all will surely make the bench tonight.


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