Premier start could benefit Ipswich Town - Alex Mathie

Alex Mathie

Alex Mathie - Credit: Archant

Trading early blows with relegated trio Reading, QPR and Wigan next season could give the Blues an early points advantage, according to former Blues striker, Alex Mathie.

Three of Town’s first four away games see them pitted against the Royals, on the opening day (August 3), Harry Redknapp’s R’s on August 17 and the FA Cup-winning Latics on September 21. All were demoted from the Premier League in May.

The opening weeks of the campaign will also see Millwall (August 10), Leeds (August 24) and Middlesbrough (September 14) visit Portman Road, while Birmingham will host the Blues on August 31.

“It’s a tough-looking start but teams will still be finding their feet so if Town can pick up points, then good results will breed confidence,” said Mathie.

“Harry (Redknapp) will still be looking at what he can do in terms of his squad at QPR (ahead of the August 31 transfer deadline) and there still seems to be a bit of unrest there at the moment.

“Wigan have lost Roberto Martinez to Everton but have a good replacement in Owen Coyle, but they will need time to adjust back into the Championship, as will Reading.”

Town ended last season strongly under McCarthy and with the Blues boss having been able to secure the permanent signatures of David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy and Jay Tabb, as well as Bristol City midfield general Cole Skuse, they should be able to kick on come August.

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“If they can take that form into the start of next season, then we should be looking at a team looking to challenge at the top end of the table,” said Mathie.

“There should be nothing to fear and Mick McCarthy won’t want another season fighting relegation. I think Mick’s philosophy will be to win his home games and draw away.”

The Blues have been handed a long trip to Doncaster on Boxing Day following by an eye-watering journey to Bournemouth three days later, and will finish the season at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

For your Ipswich Town fixtures poster, see today’s EADT and Ipswich Star.

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