Ipswich Town return to Portman Road for the first time since November 11th as they host Millwall this evening (8pm). Alex Jones previews the action.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich were handed their second league defeat of the season at the Hawthorns on SaturdayIpswich were handed their second league defeat of the season at the Hawthorns on Saturday (Image: Pagepix Limited)Bouncing back from defeat

This isn’t something we have to say very often.

In fact, across Kieran McKenna’s 100 games in charge, we’ve only had to say it 15 times, but Ipswich were beaten in their last game and now need a response.

A 2-0 defeat at the Hawthorns is no disgrace for any Championship side. West Brom have only lost twice at home since Carlos Corberan took over in October 2022, and there’s no doubting that they’ll be in and around the play-off spots come May next year.

The performance did flag some issues. Town conceded early on, yet again, but this one came from a corner. The Blues pride themselves on defending those sorts of situations, but they fell short this time.

They quickly improved but lacked cutting edge, meaning that they failed to find the back of the net before the break. The Baggies picked them off on the counter shortly after the restart, ending the game as a contest with a fine second goal.

There’s no denying that it was uncharacteristic of them in many ways, but it’ll mostly be forgotten if they can pick up three points tonight.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Blues have picked up five points from their four league games so far this monthThe Blues have picked up five points from their four league games so far this month (Image: Pagepix Limited)A November blip?

The West Brom game hasn’t necessarily been an isolated incident. November as a whole has seen Town’s levels drop compared to the first three months of the season.

We’ve seen them record consecutive unbeaten months across September and October, putting teams to the sword in a ruthless fashion, particularly at Portman Road. However, the stop-start nature of the league has seemingly caused some issues.

It took a while for Ipswich to find their levels after the October international break, edging past the likes of Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle. Draws against Birmingham City and Rotherham United felt deserved, and although they showed signs of returning to their best against Swansea City, their momentum was halted by yet another international break.

The 3-2 win against the Swans is Town’s only win in November heading into tonight’s game, having drawn two and lost one (or two, depending on whether you count the Carabao Cup) earlier in the month.

Perhaps it can be a good thing. If this is to be a blip for Ipswich, they’ve still maintained a healthy lead on the chasing pack, especially those outside of the top six. It might also remind them that the Championship is a gruelling league where anyone can take points off anyone. McKenna’s side aren’t invincible, especially if they play poorly.

It could give them an extra bit of motivation heading into December, which looks like the toughest month of the campaign on paper.

East Anglian Daily Times: Joe Edwards took charge of his first game at The Den on Saturday afternoonJoe Edwards took charge of his first game at The Den on Saturday afternoon (Image: PA Images)A new era at The Den

Millwall are looking at the opposite end of the table.

That being said, they’ve been trapped in a Championship purgatory all season. Early wins against Middlesbrough, Stoke City, Rotherham United and Plymouth Argyle gave them a buffer over the bottom three, but a top-six finish looks to be a pipe dream.

The latter was the aim for Gary Rowett, who guided the Lions into the campaign off the back of a crushing collapse at the end of last season. They had a play-off place in their hands going into a home game against Blackburn Rovers on the final day of the season, but despite going 3-1 up shortly before half-time, they were beaten 4-3 by Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side.

All of Rowett’s dreams fell to pieces. Given the strength of their squad and the state of the Championship, it felt like it had to be their year. Even then, it felt like a hard position to recover from.

So it proved, with a 2-2 draw at home to Hull City leaving them 15th in the league. As a result, the manager and the board agreed a mutual decision to part ways during the October international break, paving the way for Joe Edwards to come in.

Edwards, who left England under-20’s to join the Lions, reportedly beat former Luton Town boss Nathan Jones in the final interview stage. He boasts an impressive coaching background too, having been assistant manager at both Chelsea and Everton in the past.

East Anglian Daily Times: Millwall's defeat to Coventry City saw them drop to 18th in the tableMillwall's defeat to Coventry City saw them drop to 18th in the table (Image: PA Images)No signs of stability

Rowett and Edwards couldn’t be further apart in terms of their tactics and ideologies. The former prioritises a defensive set-up and a direct approach, while the latter looks to use wide areas to hit opponents on the counter with pace.

Edwards has had mixed results from his first two games in charge.

He started off away at Sheffield Wednesday, where the Lions romped to a 4-0 win in fairly spectacular circumstances. George Saville’s long-range effort was arguably the pick of the bunch, but everyone seemed to raise their levels for the new manager.

The caveat came with how bad the Owls were. Millwall scored four times from just six shots on target, and not every team in the Championship will allow them so much space around the box.

Coventry City certainly weren’t in the mood to do so, dismantling the Lions at The Den in a 3-0 win on Saturday. Edwards’ side had a number of chances but lacked any real cutting edge, allowing the Sky Blues to pick them off despite mustering just 38% possession.

It shows that there’s still work to be done for the 37-year-old.

East Anglian Daily Times: Axel Tuanzebe will be targeting a second league start for Town tonightAxel Tuanzebe will be targeting a second league start for Town tonight (Image: Ross Halls)Any changes?

Millwall won’t be the only side looking to make changes after a weekend defeat.

McKenna hasn’t been afraid to react to poor performances in the past, and with tonight’s game coming just three days before a home game against Coventry City, the Town boss will probably look to use his squad to keep everyone fresh and on their toes.

The back line looks the most likely to change. Brandon Williams probably did enough on Saturday to keep his place in the team, albeit that Harry Clarke could easily come in for some more minutes. The real question mark hangs over the centre-backs, Luke Woolfenden and Cameron Burgess, who both struggled at the Hawthorns.

Axel Tuanzebe has started to find his feet after bagging his first league start away at Rotherham. He and George Edmundson will surely both be in contention to face the Lions.

Ahead of them, Massimo Luongo could be brought back in ahead of Jack Taylor, although Town will also have to monitor Sam Morsy, who’s just two yellow cards away from a two-match ban.

The front four feel untouchable despite their poor showing in the West Midlands, but Wes Burns’ spot on the right wing is probably the most vulnerable. Omari Hutchinson will be desperate to start again if he’s overcome his illness, while Marcus Harness will be keen to show that he’s more than just a ‘super sub’.