Poll/Have your say: Ipswich Town v Blackburn Rovers - a fan preview
- Credit: sarah lucy brown
D-Day is almost upon us. Ipswich Town head to Blackburn tomorrow for their biggest game in ten years, in search of at least a point to secure a long-awaited play-off place. Town fan SCOTT FRASER gives his thoughts on the match....
Heading into our vital do-or-die fixture with Blackburn this Saturday, it is hard to envisage this extremely successful season ending without the prospects of a Luke Chambers fist pump at Wembley on May 25th.
Mick McCarthy’s motto has always been that ‘there is no such thing as a bad away point’ and how much are we all hoping this will be the case come 2.10pm on Saturday afternoon.
I for one am hoping for a typically organised, stubborn and hard-working away performance, the like of which has seen us pick up many valuable points on the road this season.
I think it is fair to say we have the most difficult fixture out of the play-off chasing pack, 6th-placed Derby host Reading, with the latter on a run of no win in 9 games in all competitions.
Elsewhere, Brentford and Wolves entertain recently relegated Wigan and Millwall respectively.
You would very much expect 3 home victories in these games, meaning defeat at Ewood Park will most likely result in Town narrowly finishing outside the play-off positions on goal difference, something which looked extremely unlikely at the turn of the year.
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One of the main talking points heading into Saturday’s game is the likelyhood of Jordan Rhodes ending our season prematurely.
A match-winning goal by Rhodes would result in one final nail being hit into the coffin of the Roy Keane era and having scored his 20th goal of the season last weekend, for the third consecutive campaign as a Rovers player, you would just not bet against it.
Rhodes though is not Blackburn’s only danger. His strike partner Rudy Gestede, who is likely to lead the line on his own Saturday, is currently a goal behind Rhodes in the Championship goalscoring charts and will no doubt be looking to hit the 20 league goal mark for the first time in English football.
Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith will have one of their most difficult afternoon’s of the season, that is for sure.
In a game featuring the two most in-form strike partnerships, this is likely to be a game full of goals. Here is me now hoping for a 0-0, although one thing for sure is that we never make things easy for ourselves and I fully expect it to be a roller coaster of an afternoon, one that I am extremely excited for us to finally be involved in.
My Predicted line-ups:
3 Key Battles:
Berra vs Gestede - With David Dunn expected to start in his final game for Rovers, Gestede will likely line up as a lone striker on Saturday. Berra will therefore be the man given the task of keeping the Benin international quiet. Berra has come out on top in a number of duels this season against the leagues finest strikers and one more personal victory for the Scotsman will hopefully result in a top 6 finish for Town.
Skuse vs Dunn - In his final appearance for Blackburn, David Dunn will want to finish on a high and it will be the role of Cole Skuse to make sure that their will be no final game heroics for the 35 year old. Skuse, having missed out on the April Championship Player of the Month award, has been terrific of late and will no doubt be looking to win another of his midfield battles and maybe even add to his solitary goal tomorrow.
Murphy vs Spurr - With Blackburn being without 4 key defenders on Saturday, Tommy Spurr is expected to line up in the unfamiliar position of Centre Half again. Daryl Murphy will therefore be looking to dominate this battle and add to his 25 league goals, by hopefully claiming the goal, or goals which cements Town a place in the top 6. A left back by trade, Spurr is likely to endure a difficult afternoon against the talismanic Irishman.
My Final Day Prediction:
This is now where I put my neck completely on the line, the Championship has been almost impossible to predict all season and no doubt that will be the case again tomorrow.
So here goes, my predictions for tomorrow’s vital Championship games:
Blackburn 2-2 Ipswich – Resulting in Town finishing 6th, securing a first Play-off spot since 2005.
Brentford 2-1 Wigan – Brentford would therefore finish 7th.
Derby 3-0 Reading – Derby would leapfrog Town to finish 5th.
Middlesbrough 2-0 Brighton – Middlesbrough to finish 3rd, setting up a Play-off Semi-final date with Town.
Norwich 3-2 Fulham – Norwich would stay in 4th place, opening the door to a prospective Play-off Final against Town.
Wolves 2-0 Millwall – A home win for Wolves would not be enough for a top 6 finish, and they would end the season in 8th position.