Kieron Dyer has a bad feeling ahead of the meeting between two of his former clubs

Ex Ipswich Town duo Grant Leadbitter and Kieron Dyer battle with Blues skipper Carlos Edwards in mid

Ex Ipswich Town duo Grant Leadbitter and Kieron Dyer battle with Blues skipper Carlos Edwards in midfield - Credit: Archant

No-one is better qualified to make a prediction about Saturday’s match between Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough at Portman Road than Kieron Dyer – and unfortunately he has got a bad feeling about his beloved Blues.

The former Town favourite is back at his hometown club as an academy coach after hanging up his boots this summer.

And he’s also got an insider’s knowledge about Tony Mowbray’s Teesiders having spent the second half of last season playing for the north east club.

Both teams have endured slow starts to the campaign; Ipswich with four points to their name and Boro only one better off.

“Middlesbrough seem to be playing better away from home so it will probably be a relief for them to get away from the Riverside,” said Dyer, whose first game for Boro was in a 4-0 defeat at Portman Road back in February.

“Ipswich are the same, they seem to be playing better away from home too. I know they beat Millwall 3-0 at Portman Road, but that was a workmanlike victory.

“I just fancy Middlesbrough in this one for some reason, though I hope I’m wrong.”

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Despite the purse strings having been severely tightened by owner Marcus Evans this summer, Blues boss Mick McCarthy made no attempt to play down talk of a play-off push after his side finished last season in promotion form.

There have been some encouraging displays at the start of the new campaign, but a hard-fought 3-0 home win over Millwall and 1-1 draw at Birmingham is all that Town have to show for their efforts, with single-goal defeats suffered against Reading, QPR and Leeds.

“Ipswich have had the hardest start of any team in the Championship playing the likes of Reading and QPR away,” said Dyer. “Their league position (16th) is quite misleading because they’ve played well at times, but you don’t want to be left playing too much catch-up.

“I remember the season we went down at West Ham. We had a tough start, playing the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, and only had one point after the opening five.

“It’s all very well saying you’ve got some good teams out the way, but the pressure does start to rise the longer the points don’t come.”

Middlesbrough signed ex-Norwich City duo Kei Kamara and Jacob Butterfield on transfer deadline day, though Mowbray has made no secret of his desire to sign a striker – a £4m bid for Belgium international Jelle Vossen turned down by Genk.

Town themselves have lacked goals, with the strikeforce of David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy and Frank Nouble providing just 13 goals between them during McCarthy’s 40 games in charge.

“Both sides probably lack a natural goalscorer – someone like a DJ Campbell,” said Dyer.

“I’ve been really impressed with David McGoldrick here and I don’t think it’s fair to judge him just on goals. He brings a lot more to the game with his link-up play.

“He’d probably really benefit from having a bit of a poacher alongside him, but obviously Mick is working on a very small budget.”