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06 January 2024 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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“We’ll be ready for the test”

Team news as we attempt to stage an FA Cup upset

5 January 2024

Johnnie Jackson will pit his wits against Kieran McKenna tomorrow, as we attempt to get the better of Championship side Ipswich in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The two managers last met on opposing sides in the very early stages of Johnnie’s reign in July 2022, but on that occasion Ipswich were 3-0 winners, before going on to clinch automatic promotion from League One. The pair go back long before that pre-season encounter though.

“They’ve got a clear way of playing and we’ll be ready for the test that they’re going to pose us,” said Johnnie after final preparations at the Cherry Red Records Stadium today. “We want to try and derail that on Saturday.  

“There’s no getting away from it – they’ve got really good players, some real talent. They’ve a lot of players to choose from, so it’s difficult trying to second guess and nail down who they’re going to play because they’ve got a lot at his disposal.”

You can listen to everything Johnnie had to say below.

“I’ve known Kieran for years because we were apprentices at Spurs. He was a couple of years below me. He went on his journey and did it differently to how I did, by going into coaching at a really young age and he made some great steps by coaching at Tottenham and Manchester United under some really good managers.

“He’s done a lot of learning, and you can see that by the way his teams play. He knows what he wants from his players, and he’s managed to implement it really well.”

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Although this is without doubt our toughest test yet in this season’s FA Cup run, up against a side riding high in second place as they aim for a return to the Premier League, Johnnie is buoyed by our form in the competition.

“I think we’ve done great in both previous games,” said Johnnie. “We beat a team in the first round from a higher division in Cheltenham, then we were expected to do the business against opposition from lower down when we faced Ramsgate. They came and had a go, but we dealt with that really well too.

“Our reward is a really good tie now and an even sterner test. Ipswich are playing really well, Kieran has got them playing some great stuff – what a test for us!”

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Forwards Ali Al-Hamadi and Omar Bugiel are on duty for their countries at the Asian Cup and although winger Ryan McLean and attacking midfielder Morgan Williams are back at the club – neither are involved.

Johnnie confirmed: “They’ve played in the FA Cup, Ryan with Kidderminster, and Morgan with Woking. They’re cup-tied - so they won’t be available.

“We had a couple of days to recover after the league game at Forest Green. I thought it was important after the run of games that we had that we gave the squad some rest, especially after how tough the game itself was.

“We’ve freshened them up and then returned to training for Thursday and Friday. Everyone else is looking forward to this one and have come through it with no issues, so I’ve a really good squad to choose from.”

Photos: Pro Sports Images.

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