PNE v Ipswich: Battle of the long-throwers

Joans Knudsen has impressed for Ipswich this season
Joans Knudsen has impressed for Ipswich this season
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It could be the battle of the long throw-ins on Saturday at Deepdale as Preston North host Ipswich Town in the Championship.

If North End boss Simon Grayson opts to recall loan star Marnick Vermijl to his starting XI after injury, then PNE will be able to give the Tractor Boys a taste of their own medicine.

Town left-back Jonas Knudsen – who signed from Danish club Esbjerg in the summer – is known for being able to propel the ball long distances from out of his hands.

However, Vermijl showed against Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season that he is equally adept at throwing the ball long.

Knudsen appears to be a canny signing by Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy.

He paid just £350,000 for his services and the Dane has soften the blow of losing the highly-rated Tyrone Mings, who has joined newly-promoted Premier League outfit Bournemouth for £8m.

“I guess the biggest compliment I can give Jonas is that we’re not missing Ty, and he was fabulous for us and I love Ty,” McCarthy said.

“Jonas has come in and has nailed that position, he’s been terrific. That’s the biggest compliment I can give him.

“Everybody, all the fans, myself, my assistant Terry Connor, we all loved Ty – we thought he was a terrific player, but Jonas has come in and been great.”

Town head to North End tomorrow on top of the Championship table, having won two and drawn one of their opening three games.

Despite conceding twice in stoppage time on the opening day of the season to draw 2-2 at Brentford, Town have responded in excellent fashion .

A tricky home tie against Stevenage in the Capital One Cup was safely negotiated 2-1 and McCarthy’s men then came from behind to get the better of Sheffield Wednesday by the same scoreline on Saturday at Portman Road.

The Tractor Boys made it three wins on the bounce in front of their own fans on Tuesday night when they got the better of Burnley 2-0.

McCarthy said: “It’s a lovely feeling to be top of the league. Just 43 games to go now...roll on May.

“I can’t keep going on about that Brentford game but it still irks me.

“Not the performance, just those two goals. We should be sitting here with nine points.

“We have reacted well from the disappointment of those goals though and won three on the trot.”

One player who North End will certainly have to keep their eye on is striker Daryl Murphy. The centre-forward came off against Burnley in midweek after suffering a knock.

He is though expected to recover in time to face Preston and will be a major threat.

He scored 27 goals last season as Ipswich reached the play-offs, although he has yet to open his account this season

Players like Freddy Sears and David McGoldrick will also provide a goal threat , while young Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks a real prospect on the right wing.

The 17-year-old – who is on a season-long loan with the club – has been tipped to go on to play for the Gunners by McCarthy.

“Wow. The talent of him – I think he’s going to play for Arsenal, there’s no doubt in my mind,” he said. “I watched him play against Reading for Arsenal’s Under-21s last season and I thought he was great.

“I enquired about him in January, but they 
needed him for their Champions League squad.”

MEET THE BOSS:

Mick McCarthy is hoping to guide a third club to to the Premier League.

Having masterminded promotions from the Championship in the past with Sunderland and Wolves, the 56-year-old is hoping to do the same with current club Ipswich.

The Tractor Boys reached the play-offs last season and will be hoping to go one better this time around.

McCarthy, who has also played for and managed the Republic of Ireland, enjoyed spells as a player with Barnsley, Manchester City, Celtic, Lyon and Millwall.

MEET THE REF:

East Yorkshire official Mark Brown takes charge of his first Championship game of the season when Ipswich visit Preston. He has taken charge of four games so far this campaign. Brown last refereed at Deepdale in the 1-0 win over Coventry last season.