Ipswich Town to maintain Championship status, taking 12 points from final 10 games

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town are six points adrift of the perceived 50-point survival target and Mick McCarthy admits they are not yet safe. CHRIS BRAMMER thinks they will survive, reaching 56 points, and looks where vital games will be won and lost.

Fernando Forestieri (left) and Sheffield Wednesday, visit Portman Road on April 29

Fernando Forestieri (left) and Sheffield Wednesday, visit Portman Road on April 29 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Barnsley (a) D 1-1

Surprise-package Barnsley have stalled a little since the New Year, the transfer window departures of James Bree, Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall not helping their cause.

Aside from an impressive 3-1 win at Villa, the Reds have struggled to finish teams off in recent times, losing their last two away games, 2-1.

The Reds have the Championship’s joint-worst home defence but Town, who also lack a cutting-edge, are unlikely to capitalise on this.

Gianfranco Zola is under pressure at Birmingham.

Gianfranco Zola is under pressure at Birmingham. - Credit: PA

Cardiff (a) L 2-0

Cardiff are much-improved under the wily Neil Warnock, winning 11 and drawing six of his 26 games at the helm, and have lost just one home game since December 17.

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The Bluebirds are perched comfortably in mid-table and Warnock is already talking about his plans for next season.

Kenneth Zohore’s emergence (seven goals in his last eight games) has given Cardiff added potency.

Former Ipswich striker Luke Varney (right) is now at Burton Albion

Former Ipswich striker Luke Varney (right) is now at Burton Albion - Credit: PA

Birmingham (h) W 2-1

Birmingham were seventh in the table after defeating Ipswich 2-1 at home, in December.

However, Gary Rowett was sacked after that game – a disastrous move.

In came Gianfranco Zola who, since his arrival, has won just twice in 15 league games – City slipping to 17th.

Former Town striker, Daryl Murphy, will make his first return to Portman Road, since leaving Suffolk

Former Town striker, Daryl Murphy, will make his first return to Portman Road, since leaving Suffolk, on April 17. - Credit: PA

Zola admitted after Tuesday’s latest defeat, at home to Wigan, that his future was in the balance and should he still be in charge at Portman Road, then an Ipswich win is on the cards.

With their next two games being against Cardiff and Newcastle though, a new man could well be in the dug-out at Ipswich.

Wigan (h) D 0-0

The Latics are fighting for their lives at the bottom and are currently two points from safety.

Athletic have won just twice in their last nine games, scoring just six times in their last six games.

They have won five times on the road this season, including away at Huddersfield, but both teams will draw a blank here.

Fulham (a) L 2-1

The Cottagers are still very much in the play-off hunt and are probably the only team that can catch sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday – the two teams meeting on the final day.

Only Norwich and the top-two have scored more at home this season, but only Barnsley, in the current top-12, have conceded more on their home turf.

Fulham’s open brand of football will leave gaps to be exploited, but with offensive options such as Chris Martin, Sone Aluko, Neeskens Kabano and the outstanding Tom Cairney, the Cottagers will edge out Town on a nervy afternoon for the west London side.

Burton Albion (a) L 1-0

As it stands, only Wigan have scored less goals than Burton at home, while only Villa and Rotherham have been less prolific on the road than Town.

A goal-fest in store here then!

Burton were playing in the Northern Premier Division as little as 15 years ago but have surprised a few teams this season, especially at home, beating Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Derby, among others.

They possess a goal threat in Jackson Irvine and could edge this.

Newcastle (h) L 2-0

The Magpies to carry on their title charge here. Say no more.

Rotherham (a) W 2-0

The Millers are dead and buried already, a massive 19 points away from safety, and 20 if you take into account their woeful -49 goal difference.

Sixteen of their 17 points this season have been picked up at home, the single away point coming at – you’ve guessed it – Portman Road.

There will be no repeat here, Town taking the three points.

Sheffield Wednesday (h) W 2-1

Town have never been beaten by the Owls under Mick McCarthy’s leadership.

Wednesday will be looking to cement their play-off place and this could make them nervy, especially with an indifferent away record.

Town, who have been known to get a result when least expected, to clip the Owls’ wings again.

Nottingham Forest (a) D 2-2

An end-of-season dead-rubber against an inconsistent Forest side, who currently possess the division’s second-worst defence.

An entertaining afternoon could be on offer.