Home victories will see Ipswich Town pip Bournemouth to sixth - George Burley
- Credit: PA
The man who last guided Ipswich Town to the Premier League believes the fight for the final Championship play-off spot could come down to a straight duel between the Blues and Bournemouth.
The two teams meet at Portman Road on Easter Monday, in what is shaping up to be a crucial clash, and former Blues boss George Burley thinks the duo will still be scrapping it out on the final day (May 3), when Ipswich host Sheffield Wednesday and Bournemouth travel to relegation-threatened Millwall.
The Blues are currently two points and two places shy of sixth-placed Reading, but with the Royals having not won at home since January 28, and facing games at the Madjeski Stadium against leaders Leicester and second-placed Burnley, Burley is confident Ipswich can leap-frog Nigel Adkins’ side.
Brighton are the team in between Ipswich and Reading and, with struggling trio Charlton, Blackpool and Yeovil to play at home, they can’t be discounted either.
They played party-poopers at Leicester’s promotion celebrations, defeating Nigel Pearson’s side 4-1 at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday, but have lost their last two games at home, including the 2-0 reverse to Ipswich.
As for the Blues, they have lost just once in their previous seven outings at Portman Road and ex-Scotland manager Burley, pictured, reckons that could be key.
“Ipswich are a match for anyone at home and in the last six or seven games at Portman Road, the crowd have been right behind them and they have enjoyed watching their team competing for the promotion places,” said Burley.
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“They have been consistent at home, very solid, and have certainly been a match for any team.
“The signs look good and, apart from Bournemouth, there is not another team that is consistently good at home.
“Win your home games and you can afford the odd blip on the road.
“Reading’s form has been really patchy at home and their fans will know that, whereas Town’s fans have been right behind them.
“Bournemouth have won eight of their last 10 games and I think they could be fighting for sixth place with Ipswich.
“If that is the case, I would maybe go for Ipswich and the fact they have a bit more experience.”
Town host Doncaster on Saturday and the omens look good, with the visitors possessing the worst away record in the division, having posted just 12 points from a possible 60 and scored the fewest goals (11).