Ipswich Town kick-off their Sky Bet Championship campaign with a home tie against Birmingham City on Saturday.
The Blues thoroughly disappointed last season by finishing in sixtheenth place – just four points above the relegation spaces – and Town fans will be keen that this season is not the same.
Fans of the Suffolk club began calling for Mick McCarthy’s dismissal midway through last season, however the former Wolves boss remains at Portman Road and is set to begin his fifth full season with the Tractor Boys with a home tie against Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City on Saturday.
The Blues had begun heading for the League campaign with high hopes of a change in fate after losing just one of their opening five pre-season matches, however a 6-1 drumming at Charlton Athletic last weekend has seen morale crashing down in the lead-up to the opening day.
Redknapp’s side have also had an uneven pre-season. Their schedule opened on July 11th with a 1-0 loss at FC Union Berlin before two conecutive 2-0 victories followed, however the Blues more recently drew their final match 1-1 with Kidderminster Harriers.
One positive for the Ipswich fans is that the visitors’ top-scorer last season, Lukas Jutkiewicz, is ruled-out following an injury sustained during pre-season, while veteran defender (and Club Captain) Paul Robinson is unavailable as he sits out the final of a three-match ban picked up at the end of last season.
Speaking in the lead-up to the trip to Portman Road, Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp said: “Jutkiewicz has picked up a calf strain so he is going to be out for a few weeks. That is a blow because we only had three strikers – now we have two.
“We haven’t got anyone really that I can think of that can be ready to come and play, so it’s not ideal. Other than that, we are not too bad, most of the squad are OK.”