The top two, a big rival and plenty of old faces - Town's next five games

Paul Cook's Ipswich side face Shrewsbury this weekend

Paul Cook's Ipswich Town will play both of League One's current top two sides, plus Portsmouth away, in their next five games - Credit: Pagepix

Ipswich Town's next five games see them face League One's top-two sides, plus make a long midweek trip to a fellow third-tier big boy. Mark Heath looks ahead and offers some predictions....

Ipswich Town look, finally, to be on an upward trajectory. After that miserable start, the Blues have only lost one of their last six games in all competitions and moved up to 14th in the table, six points off the play-off spots.

While that's good news, they've yet to face any of League One's top sides - but that's all about to change.

By the time the first weekend in November is here, they'll have played the division's current top two, plus faced a perennial promotion rival. Here's what's coming up...

Jack Lankester has signed for Cambridge United. Photo: CUFC

Ipswich Town will be reunited with Jack Lankester at Cambridge on Saturday - Credit: Cambridge United

Next up: Cambridge United (a), Saturday, October 16, 3pm.

Current position: 16th

A short trip down the A14 is the immediate concern for Paul Cook's men, for what looks sure to be a lively clash in the charming old Abbey Stadium.

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Mark Bonner's U's, widely tipped to go straight back down after winning promotion last season, have had a pretty decent start to life back in the third tier, winning three, losing three and drawing four of their first 10 games.

They've only won one of their last five though, and haven't played since October 2 after last weekend's clash with Morecambe was postponed by international call-ups (yes, really).

Joe Ironside is their danger man, with five goals to his name. There's a familiar face waiting for Town too - winger Jack Lankester, who signed for the U's from Ipswich in the summer for an undisclosed fee.

He's yet to really make his mark, only seeing action in six games - three in the league - after battling injury. He did start in the U's last game though, a 2-2 draw with Crewe - but may not be fit for this one.

Cambridge also boast former Town loanee Paul Digby,  and apparently ageless ex-Norwich City star Wes Hoolahan.

Prediction: 2-1 Town

Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley during the Sky Bet League One match at the Montgomery Waters Meadow,

Danny Cowley's Portsmouth will be a tough midweek test - Credit: PA

Midweek miles: Portsmouth (a), Tuesday October 19th, 7.45pm.

Current position: 12th

Such a shame this is a midweek game, given the size of the clubs and the extra spice added by the summer banter between both sets of fans - Pompey starting the short-lived 'Chequebook FC' nickname for Town.

That aside, on the pitch it's the first meeting between the Blues and a side you'd expect to be right up there come April/May.

Danny Cowley's Pompey have yet to set the world on fire, winning four, losing four and drawing three of their opening 11 matches.

But last time out - on October 2 - they tonked high-flying Sunderland 4-0 for their first league win since August 17.

That's the sort of result which ignites seasons, so one would expect Pompey to be very much up for Town's visit.

Prediction: 2-1 Pompey

Joe Garner left Ipswich Town for Wigan in the summer. Picture: PA

Former Town striker Joe Garner will return to Suffolk with Fleetwood - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The strugglers: Fleetwood Town (h), Saturday, October 23rd, 3pm.

Current position: 20th

The only home game for Town in this five match stretch, this one is very much in the basket marked 'should win'.

The Cod Army were widely predicted to struggle this season, and so it's proved, with just two wins from their opening 10 matches.

They have been scoring goals though - 17 so far, led by Gerard Garner's four - and beat Rotherham 4-2 away, plus drew 2-2 with Sunderland and 3-3 with MK Dons.

Town could well come up against a familiar face in that striking department too. Joe Garner signed for Fleetwood at the end of August after a short-lived spell in Cyprus at Apoel FC.

Garner, who was taken to Cyprus by former Town boss Mick McCarthy, has played four games so far, all off the bench.

Prediction: 3-1 Town

James Wilson has joined Plymouth Argyle

Last season's Town player of the year James Wilson is now anchoring the defence at table-toppers Plymouth - Credit: Pagepix/PAFC

The table-toppers: Plymouth Argyle (a), Saturday, October 30, 3pm.

Current position: 1st

Town finish this month with a long trip to Plymouth, the side currently looking down on everyone else in the league from the top spot.

Ryan Lowe's surprise package have lost just one of their first 12 league matches, winning six and drawing the other five. That loss came all the way back on opening day, a 2-0 away defeat at Rotherham.

Ryan Hardie is very much their danger man, having notched 10 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season, while Luke Jephcott has chipped in with five.

And there's another reunion for Town here too - James Wilson, the Blues' player of the year last season, was released by Cook and co and then quickly snapped up by Lowe, who called him their 'number one priority.'

He's made 12 appearances so far at the heart of a defence which has conceded just 11 goals, one of the stingiest in the league.

On paper, this looks to be a big ask for Town. For some reason though, I can see them getting a result.

Prediction: 2-1 Town

Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth was linked to Championship vacancies at Sunderland and Mi

Gareth Ainsworth has Wycombe contending for promoton again - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A wander to Wycombe: Wycombe Wanderers (a), Tuesday, November 2, 7.45pm.

Current position: 2nd

Despite playing in the Championship last season, Wanderers weren't on many pundits' lists of pre-season picks to perform well.

And they've shown that was an oversight thus far, winning seven and losing just two of their first 11 games back in the third tier.

Indeed, Gareth Ainsworth's unheralded outfit have won three in a row and four of their last five.

Garath McCleary tops their scoring charts with five, while Sam Vokes has chipped in with three.

Prediction: 2-2 draw 

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