'Chance to lay down a marker' - McKenna on Easter clashes against Rotherham and Wigan

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna punches the air in celebration after his side had secured a 1-0

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is keen to see his team finish the season strongly. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says this Easter weekend double header is a good opportunity to 'lay a marker down' ahead of next season.

The Blues take on third-place Rotherham United in South Yorkshire tomorrow lunchtime (12.30pm, Sky Sports) and then host table-toppers Wigan Athletic at Portman Road on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

“It’s two stand-out games in the calendar and a weekend I've looked forward to ever since I took the job," said McKenna. 

“It’s a really good challenge to see where we’re at and learn a little bit more about ourselves as a team. 

James Norwood gets a pat on the head after scoring at Shrewsbury.

Ipswich Town drew 1-1 at Shrewsbury last weekend. That result leaves them eight points outside of the play-off places with four games to go. - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

“Wigan and Rotherham have been the most dominant teams in the league for the majority of this season. Not just this season, but also when they’ve been in League One before. 

“We want to see how we match up against that."

Town go into tomorrow's game without injured quartet George Edmundson, Lee Evans, Kyle Edwards and Kayden Jackson, as well as the suspended Cameron Burgess. 

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“It’s the end of the season and we have big players missing," said McKenna. "It would be nice, in an ideal world, to go into these games with a full deck, or closer to, than we are at the moment. 

“So I don’t think we will make big, big, big judgements about where we are at as a squad just off of how these games go on Saturday and Tuesday. 

“It’s a snap shot in time. If we played them a month ago then the team would be different to what it’s going to be on Saturday. If we played them a month before that it would different again. 

“Most games across the course of a season are a snap shot in time. The most important thing is we go into next season able to pick up more points over 46 games than most of the other teams.  

“Part of having a successful season is beating the teams at the top though and that’s something that we want to do next year.

"For the players who are going to be with us next year that do play on Saturday, it’s a good opportunity to go and lay that marker down."

He added: “We challenge the players every single day. They all know this is a club going in a certain direction and everyone has to work really hard and perform well to stay on that bus. 

“I know their motivation is high. They want to finish the season well individually for different reasons."

Sam Morsy clashes with James Brophy.

Ipswich Town skipper Sam Morsy (right) leaves Cambridge's James Brophy in a heap. Kieran McKenna insists his players are motivated to finish the season strongly. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com