Ipswich Town take on Swansea City, at Portman Road, in a Championship clash this afternoon. Stuart Watson previews the action.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jack Taylor (centre) celebrates alongside Harry Clarke and Omari Hutchinson during Ipswich Town's 2-2 draw at Rotherham in midweek.Jack Taylor (centre) celebrates alongside Harry Clarke and Omari Hutchinson during Ipswich Town's 2-2 draw at Rotherham in midweek. (Image: PA Images)


Eleven wins, three draws, one defeat. Ipswich Town are eight points clear of third-place with a third of the season played.

We all hoped the Blues would carry positive momentum into the Championship, but I don't think even the most optimistic of fans envisaged it going quite this well. We all have to keep reminding ourselves of that.

That said, it doesn't mean that the recent dip in performance levels can't be gently acknowledged.

The Blues rode their luck a little in the latter stages of a 1-0 defeat at Bristol City and were arguably a tad fortunate to beat Plymouth 3-2 at Portman Road. Last weekend, they had to come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Birmingham. On Tuesday night, a similarly scrappy game on the road also ended 2-2 at Rotherham.

Kieran McKenna always talks about processes. Focus on performances and the points look after themselves is his mantra. If Ipswich are to keep tipping these fine margins affairs in their favour more often than not, they are going to have to raise their game back to early season standards. Staying on the max isn't easy though.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich have scored 28 goals in 10 games at Portman Road this season.Ipswich have scored 28 goals in 10 games at Portman Road this season. (Image: Steve Waller)


Those fortunate enough to be inside Portman Road today can play a big part in making the above happen.

It would be easy for newer fans, so accustomed to the extraordinary success of this calendar year, to sit back and simply expect the team to entertain and win.

And it would also be easy for longer-serving fans, with a few deep emotional scars, to sit back feeling edgy and prepared for the reality check they've quietly feared.

Now is the time that the team needs you most though. Three of the next four games are on Suffolk soil. A healthy points return from home games against Swansea, Millwall and Coventry would set up a dastardly looking December nicely.

Never underestimate the role a vocal, sold-out, positive crowd can have on both the home team and the opposition. Don't get blasé about this special group. Keep helping the players to run harder and faster. They really do see you as the 12th man. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Swansea City manager Michael Duff.Swansea City manager Michael Duff. (Image: PA)


After Swansea finished 10th in the Championship last season, manager Russell Martin was lured to Southampton. The South Wales club turned to Michael Duff as his replacement after he had led Barnsley to the League One Play-Off Final.

Proven goalscorer Joel Piroe and left-back assists machine Ryan Manning departed for Leeds and Southampton respectively. A seven-game winless start in the league followed.

Duff has slowly been able to put his own stamp on things though. Four successive victories in September/October - against Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, Norwich and Plymouth - changed the mood. A mixed bag since then leaves them 14th in the table.

Duff has praised his team's 'bodies on the line' defending after the last two games - a 1-0 win at Blackburn and a 0-0 home draw with Sunderland. Swansea played with 10 men for more than an hour against the Black Cats after playmaker Charlie Patino was dismissed for two yellows. The Arsenal loan star, who has been linked with AC Milan recently, is suspended today.

It's not impossible that Duff, having seen first hand how good Ipswich were in League One, might try and deploy some spoiling tactics this afternoon. Back in February 2022, he said Ipswich fans were 'more interested in us than supporting their team' after time-wasting Cheltenham secured a 0-0 draw at Portman Road. Back in April, he declared Ipswich to be 'statistically the best team in League One history' ahead of Town's huge 3-0 win at Barnsley.

East Anglian Daily Times: Nathan Broadhead missed the midweek trip to Rotherham through illness.Nathan Broadhead missed the midweek trip to Rotherham through illness. (Image: Stephen Waller)


Brandon Williams sat out the game at Birmingham through illness and was an unused sub at Rotherham. Will the Manchester United loanee replace Harry Clarke at right-back today?

Nathan Broadhead was absent in midweek due to a sickness bug. Will the Welsh international be fit enough to replace Marcus Harness in the team today? Hopefully. He does provide the attacking unit with a bit of x-factor.

With Wes Burns still sidelined with a shoulder injury (but making good progress), will it be Omari Hutchinson or Kayden Jackson on the right? They've rotated of late.

Is Axel Tuanzebe, who made his long-awaited league debut at Rotherham, fit enough to go again? Or will Luke Woolfenden return to the team at centre-back? I'd imagine the latter.

And might midfielder Jack Taylor, who scored off the bench at the New York Stadium, be handed only his second league start since joining Town? Massimo Luongo, who empties the tank every single game, might be a player that benefits from dipping out.

We'll find out at 2pm.

East Anglian Daily Times: George Hirst was denied a penalty after this collision with Hakeem Odoffin at Rotherham on Tuesday night.George Hirst was denied a penalty after this collision with Hakeem Odoffin at Rotherham on Tuesday night. (Image: Pagepix)


Is today the day that Ipswich are awarded their first penalty of the season?

Referee Sunny Singh Gill is taking charge of only his second ever Championship game. Last season was his first as a referee in the Football League.

Speaking in March, he said: “Every time I think about the fact I’m now refereeing in the EFL, it’s a bit overwhelming, emotions start running through my body. 

“I get to wear the EFL badge that I’ve wanted for the last 14 years and to be the first British South Asian referee since my dad (Jarnail Singh) all those years ago makes me even more proud."