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Ipswich Town must beat Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup to lift some of the gloom at Portman Road

After the strangest of years, the beautiful game has finally returned and is back at Portman Road.

It seems odd to associate the word ‘beautiful’ with Ipswich Town after several calamities on and off the pitch during pre-season.

And although you should never focus too much on what happens during this time, it was worrying to see the amount of goals we’ve given away to our opposition.

Ipswich Town fan Joey Sadler (41869751)
Ipswich Town fan Joey Sadler (41869751)

That said, judgment should not be made until after a competitive ball is kicked and it starts on Saturday with the visit of Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup.

I’m really not sure how Paul Lambert is going to line up for this one. With it being a cup competition, any other time you’d have expected him to field a few youngsters and experiment with the squad a little bit.

But with their first league fixture for almost six months the week after, will he be tempted to play his strongest team ahead of arguably the biggest season in his managerial career?

Personally, I can’t say I’m too fussed about this cup and I wouldn’t be too disheartened to see some young players get minutes and those ‘down the pecking order’ given a chance.

I imagine this will be what Lambert does as he desperately tries to figure out what his best XI is, after failing to do so throughout the whole of last season.

The big news from this week was Flynn Downes announcing he would like to leave for Crystal Palace and to be honest, who can really blame him?

I don’t think any Town fan could argue with Flynn wanting to play higher and also get out of what seems to be an unhappy camp, with Lambert continuously digging players out

There’s no doubt Downes would be a terrible loss, let’s just hope we get a sensible figure for him.

There’s a big dark cloud hanging over Portman Road, but a win on Saturday would certainly help some sunshine to peak through.

READ MORE: Downes will not be considered for Rovers clash