Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna has admitted that, while he remains focused on their next game against Middlesbrough, the short turnaround means that he has one eye on next week’s fixtures as well.

The Blues will make the 500-mile round trip to Teesside this weekend before heading to Vicarage Road on Tuesday night, giving them very little time to recover and prepare for Valerien Ismael’s Watford.

After the clash in Hertfordshire, Town will have two days to turn their attentions to the first East Anglian derby in four years, with Norwich City travelling to Portman Road next Saturday.

It looks set to be a demanding week for Ipswich, who also have huge games against direct promotion rivals coming up either side of Christmas.

McKenna knows how important time management will be during the festive period, stressing that the squad will need to look ahead and prepare for what’s to come further down the line.

“It’s a phase where it becomes really important,” the manager said.

“In two weeks’ time, we have Leeds, Leicester, QPR and Stoke in maybe a 10-day period. When you’re going into blocks like that, it’s true that we have to plan a little bit ahead.

“It’s extremely unlikely that we're going to pick the same team for each game and there’s an opportunity, and sometimes a need, to look at each opponent and develop a gameplan for each game so we can choose the players that are most suitable for that it. We can plan a little bit ahead.

“There’s an element of that that comes into the thinking, but at the same time, we know each game is such a challenge. Each of those games are so difficult that, certainly for the playing group and the staff as well, we can’t allow our minds to drift too far past the game ahead.

“We need to prepare a team with full focus to be ready for that game. We’ll keep one very small percent of our minds on the next one coming up and what that one might look like.”