Ipswich Town vs Buxton: FA Cup Preview, Second Round, 2022
HEREFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: A detailed view of the Trophy prior to the FA Cup First Round match between Hereford FC and Portsmouth FC at Edgar Street Athletic Ground on November 04, 2022 in Hereford, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

FA Cup action returns to Suffolk soil this weekend as Ipswich Town host non-league Buxton at Portman Road on Sunday evening.

The hosts, winners of the competition in 1978, enter the tie as the highest ranked team left in the competition, sitting second in League One and progressed to this stage courtesy of a 3-0 victory over seventh-tier Bracknell Town.

Ipswich have not reached the third round since relegation from the Championship and were knocked out at this stage last season by Barrow in a televised replay at Holker Street.

The initial goalless draw proved to be the final straw for former manager Paul Cook, who was sacked within hours of the final whistle.

The visitors, who sit 18th in the National League North, are looking to cause an upset in the first ever meeting between the two sides and equal their best ever run in the FA Cup in 1952.

The Bucks have reached the second round in successive seasons for the first time in the club’s history. They fell to Morecambe at this stage in the last campaign.

Already having won four matches in the competition so far, the latest came after a 2-0 home victory over fellow non-league side Merthyr Town three weeks ago.

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna says that, despite the different calibre of opposition, his side will prepare as they normally do and also highlighted what the occasion could mean to their visitors.

He said: “For them it’s a brilliant draw. I’m sure when the draw was made, we would have been one of the teams that they were hoping to get.

“They look a well-balanced and well-organised team in and out of possession. They play different shapes, they started the season with a back four and they have played a back five.

“But it’s one thing watching them in their normal games in the league, it’s another thing how they are going to be at Portman Road.”

The former Manchester United assistant, who will be taking charge of a home FA Cup tie for the first time, is focused on the job at hand and is fully aware of what to expect from Buxton.

“We know the context for us,” he added. “We have to go and win the game, we have to perform. It’s going to be a difficult and stubborn opponent who will try and do everything they can to make it difficult for us.

“We have to rise to that challenge but that’s the beauty of the FA Cup. It is a challenge we have faced before and we are looking forward to the game.”

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Buxton manager Jamie Vermiglio guided Chorley to the fourth round two years ago, knocking out Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Championship side Derby County in the process before eventually falling to Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Vermiglio is excited at the prospect of this weekend’s match and says his side will face a different challenge to one they have experienced so far in the competition.

Speaking following the draw, he said: “I am really happy with the draw. We are looking forward to it, we have what is probably one of the biggest games in the club’s history.

“I think it’s fair to say that the games we have gone into in the FA Cup, we’ve not been the underdogs. The opposition have been relatively even or from the league below when we have had to cope with the mentality of the underdog playing us.

“So it will be the first time we are going into it really up against it in terms of the size of the club, the venue, the supporters and where they are in the league.

“But that is when memories are truly made and they could just take their eye off the ball a little bit.

“We aim to go there and cause an upset.”

Buxton’s assistant manager is former Ipswich midfielder Tommy Miller, who will return to the club that he made more than 200 appearances for across three spells between 1992 and 2009.

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Miller is relishing a return to Portman Road in the away dugout and is pleased that the club have been drawn in a tie of this stature.

He said: “I was obviously delighted, it’s a great draw for the club. It’s a once in a lifetime game really.

“We are going to enjoy the day. It’s a free hit, we’re not expected to win. Ipswich are flying high and have got some good players.”

Team news

Ipswich Town

Ipswich will be without Marcus Harness after the former Portsmouth man suffered a small meniscus tear in midweek, with the 26-year-old expected to be ruled out until around January.

McKenna says the injury to Harness, who underwent surgery on Saturday morning, is not as bad as initially feared but an exact timeline is still yet to be determined.

He said: “With that injury it could have been a lot more serious and my first fear is for the player in that situation and for his career. At the moment the outlook is much brighter than it was on Tuesday night.

“It’s not too major a surgery and we hope it goes smoothly so he’s back with us as quickly as possible. There are rough timescales, but unless you have a crystal ball you can’t really tell until the surgeon goes in and has a look at the knee.”

Sone Aluko and Lee Evans are two other notable absentees, but McKenna confirmed that both are nearing a return and should be available for selection again in the early stages of 2023.

The Northern Irishman said: “Sone is progressing really well and will hopefully return to team training in the next couple of weeks. He is working really hard out on the grass.

“Lee is a little bit behind that, but not too far. He is now working in the gym and will come towards grass work pretty soon.”

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Gassan Ahadme recently returned to action following a fractured foot and, having been cup tied on Tuesday, is set to play a part for the Bucks visit on Sunday.

“He’s itching to go,” McKenna said on the Moroccan. “We’re looking forward to seeing him out there on Sunday, whether he starts or not we will decide.

“But he’s going to get significant minutes, which he hasn’t had so far since he’s been here. He’s training really well and he’s itching to go.”

Greg Leigh should be good to go again having returned from his absence in midweek, while Conor Chaplin and Leif Davis have trained and will be in the squad.

Freddie Ladapo and Janoi Donacien are unlikely to be involved, however, with Arsenal loanee Tyreece John-Jules and Dominic Ball longer-term absentees for the Tractor Boys.

Buxton

Buxton are likely to name a similar team to the one that beat Merthyr in the first round to get to this stage.

Despite playing in the sixth-tier, the squad is littered with experience from higher levels, with no fewer than 15 players having Football League experience.

Centre-back Shaun Brisley has 354 Football League appearances under his belt while Harry Bunn has played 91 matches in the Championship for Huddersfield Town.

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Scott Boden has 15 career FA Cup goals, eight of those coming in the proper stages of the competition.

Lindon Meikle and Connor Kirby also have significant professional experience.

Former Ipswich defender Levi Andoh is with the Bucks but has not featured since early October.

Max Conway, a loan signing from Bolton Wanderers in midweek, could make his debut this weekend.

Likely lineups

Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Leigh, Burgess, Keogh, Vincent-Young; Morsy (c), Humphreys; Jackson, Camara, Edwards; Ahadme.

Buxton: (3-5-2): Richardson; Brisley, Granite (c), Newton; Poole, Moult, Kirby, Bunn, Elliott; Boden, Gilchrist.

Key players

Greg Leigh

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Town left-back Greg Leigh has been sidelined with a compression fracture to the leg since mid-September when he hobbled off in a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Leigh returned to action in the midweek defeat to Portsmouth in the Papa John’s Trophy and is likely to be given the nod again against Buxton.

The Jamaica international has found game time limited since his arrival from Morecambe in the summer due to a combination of the aforementioned injury and the excellent form of Davis with just three starts to his name in Ipswich colours.

The 28-year-old has experience against the Bucks, playing in the non-leaguer's run-ending defeat to the Shrimps last season.

Jason Gilchrist

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Striker Jason Gilchrist has been in and out of the Bucks side so far this season but does sit as the club’s top goalscorer in all competitions with six.

One of those included netting from the bench in the first round victory over Merthyr.

He briefly had a stint at York City before joining Buxton and was the National League North top scorer with 26 goals in 2017/18.

The 27-year-old has youth pedigree at Manchester City and Burnley.

Gilchrist will fight for a starting berth in attack with Boden and Diego De Girolamo also in contention.

Form guide

The Tractor Boys have been in good form in the league although did lose in midweek to Portsmouth, knocking them out of the Papa John’s Trophy in the process.

Still, Ipswich have lost just four of their last 22 matches in all competitions, featuring 11 clean sheets in that time.

Town have a dreadful record of late in the FA Cup, winning just three of their last 24 ties over the last 12 years. All three have come since 2019 and were away from home.

Ipswich are winless in 10 home ties in the competition and will be looking for a first win since beating Chesterfield in 2009.

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Buxton, having gone on a run of seven wins in eight beforehand, have since lost three matches on the spin going into the trip to Portman Road.

They have won four of their last six away matches, but recently were beaten in the FA Trophy at Blyth Spartans last weekend.

The Bucks are unbeaten in their last six FA Cup ties on the road.

Head-to-head

The two sides have never met in competitive fixtures before.

Buxton have once beaten Football League opposition in the FA Cup, knocking out Division Three South side Aldershot in their record run to the third round in 1952.

Match details

Where is the game being played?

Portman Road will play host to this clash, the home of Ipswich Town since 1884.

What time is kick-off?

The match will kick off at 17:00 GMT on Sunday, November 27.

How can I watch?

The match will not be available to watch domestically, however the game has been selected for international broadcast, which is the reason for the Sunday evening kick-off time.

Highlights will be available on social media the following day.

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