Time for Ipswich Town to take advantage of home comforts and pressure Middlesbrough, Derby and Bournemouth

Christophe Berra shooting on the rebound in the Fulham penalty area

Christophe Berra shooting on the rebound in the Fulham penalty area

With their recent sticky patch seemingly behind them, it’s time for Ipswich Town to make Portman Road a fortress.

Maximum points from tomorrow’s home clash with Reading and Tuesday night’s visit of Birmingham City – both teams languishing in mid-table – could catapult Town into top spot.

Defender Christophe Berra has dismissed the notion that the Blues face two very winnable games, despite the sizeable gap that separates Reading and Birmingham from the business ends of the table.

However, if Town are to keep the top-two dream alive, then six points against two of the league’s also-rans is a must.

Tomorrow, Middlesbrough host improving Leeds, Derby are at home to Sheffield Wednesday and Bournemouth travel to Brentford.

Derby, in second, and third-placed Bournemouth missed the chance to extend their lead on the Blues, the pair drawing their last two games, including a game each other, while leaders Middlesbrough were held 1-1 at Birmingham on Wednesday night.

That result in itself suggests Gary Rowett’s side will be no pushovers and with a further set of games to be played next midweek – Middlesbrough hosting Bolton, Derby entertaining Charlton and Bournemouth going to Nottingham Forest (Wednesday) – the next five days could prove pivotal.

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“It doesn’t look as though anyone is going to run away with it this season,” said Berra, whose side have the best home record in the division.

“Leicester and, to a lesser extent, Burnley, did that last season but the gap between second place and Norwich, in sixth, right now is only six points.

“There will be a couple of teams below them that will be thinking they can get to the play-offs at least.

“We have to play everyone in the top six again, apart from Derby, and they will all have to play each other at some stage. There will be points dropped all over the place.

“We have just got to hope we pick up more points than we drop.”

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