Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday match preview: Forget league integrity, Blues need to perform for fans

Ipswich Town's players on the end of season 'lap of appreciation' following the final game of the 20

Ipswich Town's players on the end of season 'lap of appreciation' following the final game of the 2016/17 season. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town take on Sheffield Wednesday in their final home game of the 2016/17 season this afternoon. Here’s your match preview.

Grant Ward, Tom Lawrence and Freddie Sears will all return to the Ipswich Town team for today's visi

Freddie Sears celebrates his goal against Newcastle with Grant Ward and Tom Lawrence - Credit: PA

What’s riding on it?

Town may be safe, but there’s pride at stake. Anything below 16th would represent the club’s lowest league finish since 1959. Another impressive display like the one produced against Newcastle on Easter Monday would make for a rather less awkward ‘lap of appreciation’ post-match. Forget about league integrity, the motivation should be to perform for the fans today.

Following five straight wins, Sheffield Wednesday look to have a play-off place sewn up. A win today would seal it, while a draw could even be enough depending on how Leeds get on against Norwich. However, defeat could leave them with a nervy final game at home to promotion rivals Fulham.

Town the bogeymen

Tom Lawrence scored a stunning solo goal in Ipswich's 2-1 win at Hillsborough earlier this season. P

Tom Lawrence scored a stunning solo goal in Ipswich's 2-1 win at Hillsborough earlier this season. Photo: PAGEPIX

Sheffield Wednesday finally beat Derby at the 18th attempt with a gritty comeback 2-1 home victory last week. One week on they face another of their bogey teams.

Town are unbeaten in eight matches against the Owls. Their last defeat in this fixture was the infamous 3-0 home loss under the caretaker management of Chris Hutchings in 2012. The Blues’ record in this match-up over the last 15 meetings is W7 D7 L1.

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Mick McCarthy has his own remarkable managerial record against the Owls too. His last defeat to them was as a rookie Millwall boss, in a League Cup tie, way back in 1995. Since then, in charge of Sunderland, Wolves and Town, he is undefeated in 14 matches against the South Yorkshire side.

Rhodes to ruin?

Jordan Rhodes, pictured challenging fellow ex-Blues striker Daryl Murphy for a header, has scored th

Jordan Rhodes, pictured challenging fellow ex-Blues striker Daryl Murphy for a header, has scored three goals since joining Sheffield Wednesday on loan from Middlesbrough. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

The former Kesgrave High School pupil has made several multi-million pound moves since being let go on the cheap by Roy Keane and netted six goals in seven games against Town.

He might not start today though given the form of Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper. The Owls – who will buy Rhodes permanently for £10m at the end of his loan switch from Middlesbrough – have an embarrassment of riches up front with Fernando Forestieri, Sam Winnall and Atdhe Nuhiu also options.

Wealthy Thai owner Dejphon Chansiri has pushed the boat out in an attempt to fulfil his two-year Premier League pledge.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal has won back the support of Owls fans with a five-game

Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal has won back the support of Owls fans with a five-game winning run. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images