We visit Ipswich Town in the Championship on Saturday aiming to put a little more
distance between ourselves and the relegation zone. Blues head into the game six points clear of the bottom three after snapping a five-game winless run with four points in our last two matches. These four points were well earned with two tricky games against Leeds Utd and Sheffield Utd.
As satisfying as those two results were, the game on Saturday is probably more important. Ipswich are on the cusp of relegation. If Blues win, the Tractor Boys will definitely be playing in League 1 next season. Sadly for them, even if they avoid it this weekend, relegation looks inevitable anyway.
Blues will travel to East Anglia full of confidence after two excellent performances over the past
week. Like a Grand National sign up offer paying dividends, it was a good week to back the Blues last week against tough opposition. Last Saturday we defeated Leeds United 1-0 and then followed it up with a gritty 1-1 draw against Sheffield United on Wednesday.
The victory against Leeds was particularly satisfying because of the bonus of a clean sheet. Although we could have won on Wednesday (oops!) against the Blades, I think most would agree that a draw was probably the right result.
Those results have steadied the ship following the nine-point deduction for transgressing Financial Fair Play rules and hopes are high that the team can now finish the campaign with a flourish, especially as we have to play Rotherham, Wigan and Reading – all below us. Monk admitted that he was delighted with the results, but he has urged his side not to take their foot off the gas this weekend.
“To take four points off teams that are going for automatic promotion is huge credit to the players,” he told the club’s official website.
“They’ve shown a great attitude and performances. Now we need to maintain that focus for this game on Saturday and it’s vitally important that we have the same attitude and focus as we did in those two games, because we still need wins and points on the board to get to that safety mark.”
Midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld is the only player unavailable for Blues with a knee problem, while Tom Adeyemi, Emyr Hughes and Freddie Sears are among numerous players ruled out for Ipswich.
The Blues will need to improve on their away form if they are to take anything from this weekend’s game. We have won just twice away from St Andrew’s during 2019 and are currently without a victory on the road since February.
Defensive lapses have cost us dearly away from home, with 32 goals conceded, one of the
worst records in the Championship. However, Ipswich have won just twice at Portman Road this season and hopefully they will trouble keeping Che and Juke at bay!
The two sides fought out a 2-2 draw when they met back in September, with Christophe Berra’s goal deep into stoppage time snatching an unlikely point for Ipswich. This was a result that was annoying, as it is a game we should have won.
It’s a while since we won at Ipswich, something we’ve not done since December 2008, but Paul Lambert’s team are struggling, so hopefully we will win.
Prediction 2-1 away victory for Blues.