Ipswich Town v Brentford match preview – Forget last season’s battle, this is set up nicely

Ipswich Town's 10-goal top-scorer Tom Lawrence is available again today after serving a two-game sus

Ipswich Town's 10-goal top-scorer Tom Lawrence is available again today after serving a two-game suspension. Picture: Steve Waller. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town host Brentford in a Championship clash this afternoon (3pm ko). Here is everything you need to know.

Luke Varney received a yellow card for this tackle on Ryan Woods during Ipswich Town's bad-tempered

Luke Varney received a yellow card for this tackle on Ryan Woods during Ipswich Town's bad-tempered 3-1 home defeat to Brentford last April. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

BAD BLOOD

When these two teams met at Portman Road towards the end of last season (April 9) it all turned rather unsavoury.

Luke Hyam was sent-off when the Bees last visited Portman Road.
Picture: Steve Waller.

Luke Hyam was sent-off when the Bees last visited Portman Road. Picture: Steve Waller. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Luke Hyam’s late challenge left the Bees’ star man, Alan Judge, with a broken leg in the third minute. The Irishman missed Euro 2016 and has only just returned to training.

Bees players, chiefly Ryan Woods and Alan McCormack, then targeted Hyam for revenge. The Blues midfielder eventually angrily reacted and was sent-off just before half-time.

Ipswich Town fans celebrate Jonas Knudsen's goal at Norwich City last Sunday. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town fans celebrate Jonas Knudsen's goal at Norwich City last Sunday. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Brentford went on to secure a 3-1 victory against 10-men courtesy of Lasse Vibe’s two second-half goals.

Brentford manager Dean Smith. Photo: PA

Brentford manager Dean Smith. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

SET FOR ENTERTAINMENT?

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The above battle aside, this fixture has generally produced some entertaining spectacles during Brentford’s three seasons back in the Championship.

And it’s set up nicely today. The Bees play open, attacking football and have netted 16 goals in their last six games. They are vulnerable at the back too though and have kept just once clean sheet this calendar year.

Town regularly dished up turgid displays in 2016, but produced some highly encouraging displays during the unbeaten month of February. A wing-backs system, extra positivity in midfield and forward David McGoldrick fit and firing again have all been factors in the turnaround.

Mick McCarthy used to obsess with matching up and stopping the opposition. Going toe-to-toe today should provide better value for money for the Portman Road punters.

WINNING BACK THE FANS

Town fans require more convincing that brighter times are ahead. A decent February doesn’t wipe out 18 months of stagnation. And it’s still only one win in nine across all competitions. Mick McCarthy has admitted there is a broken relationship that needs mending.

Having raised their game against the likes of Reading, Aston Villa, Brighton, Leeds and Norwich, it will be interesting to see how Town cope with some raised expectation levels.

Those they attend today get half-price tickets for next Tuesday’s visit of relegation-battling Wolves.