Town refuse to leave last chance saloon as they look to break Wes hoodoo

Sone Aluko is congratulated at Cambridge.

Town players celebrate Sone Aluko's two goals at Cambridge. But they proved not to be enough as Ipswich drew 2-2 earlier in the season. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town entertain Cambridge United at Portman Road today. MIKE BACON takes a look at the main talking points.

Last chance saloon... again

Ipswich Town and Kieran McKenna remain in the last-chance saloon when in comes to the play-offs.

They've been in there for a few weeks now, but in fairness to them, refuse to leave, even if 'last orders' appeared to have been called a while ago!

Town know they have to win five of their last six games to gatecrash the League One play-offs. If they win all six it would likely guarantee a spot. But it's a big ask and they can't afford anything less than three points today.

The Blues remain five points off sixth place, in ninth, and teams above them have games in hand. All Town can do is try and pick up three points, as they did last weekend against Plymouth.

Cambridge United are sitting in 16th and have as good as guaranteed League One football for next season, having been promoted last season.

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Sometimes opponents can be dangerous when the pressure is off, which it pretty well is for United.

Celebrating Town fans.

Town fans are making Portman Road sing these days. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Pump up the volume

It's set to be another bumper and noisy crowd at Portman Road today.

Twenty thousand-plus crowds are becoming the norm now for the Blues to be playing at home in front of and the atmosphere within the ground has been fantastic most of this season.

Do the players enjoy playing in front of such big crowds? Kieran McKenna thinks so.

"Home form is absolutely massive," he said.

"We feel our home form has been strong and the fans have really got behind the team. It should always be a difficult place for other teams to come and play."

Certainly a vibrant, loud Portman Road can very much be the 12th man.

Breaking the Wes hoodoo!

Former Norwich City star Wes Hoolahan has an impressive record against the Blues. He's likely to get his usual 'positive' reception from the Portman Road faithful today!

In 11 matches against Town after signing for the Canaries in 2008, Hoolahan won seven and recorded four draws in East Anglian derby clashes. Just in case Ipswich fans needed reminding, the Blues haven't beaten Norwich in an East Anglian Derby for more than a decade. 

Now at Cambridge, Hoolahan kept that unbeaten run going against Ipswich the last time the two sides met back in October, when Town managed to throw away a two-goal lead, as the U's hit back with a late equaliser at the Abbey Stadium, to draw 2-2.

Talking on whether Hoolahan, who is 39, will be playing at Portman Road today, Cambridge United boss Mark Bonner said: “Wes is a Norwich boy so he does like the Ipswich games. We’ll see where he is for that. We know how influential he can."

Paul Cook after the draw at Cambridge United.

Paul Cook after the draw at Cambridge United. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Revenge in the air

Back in October, Town suffered that late heartache at the Abbey Stadium, as Paul Cook's managerial reign at Town continued to stutter.

The Blues looked set to coast to victory in the first half, as Sone Aluko's first two goals for the club had Town in control, but James Brophy and Joe Ironside, late on, struck to the delight of the majority of a sellout crowd of 7,944 in the 2-2 draw.

For Town at the time it was a body blow and they ended the day in 15th position in League One.

It was results like the one at Cambridge that afternoon that has seen them continue to battle against the tide in their attempts to hit the top six, despite the Blues recent fine run of good form.

Cambridge United's Jack Lankester and Luton Town's Amari'i Bell battle for the ball during the Emira

Cambridge United's Jack Lankester and Luton Town's Amari'i Bell battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at Abbey Stadium, Cambridge. Picture date: Saturday February 5, 2022. - Credit: PA

Jack's back

Jack Lankester moved to the Abbey Stadium during the summer. The former Ipswich Town academy star spent almost 15 years at Portman Road as he made his way through the youth system.

Since he moved across East Anglia, he's been in and out of the U's starting XI for much of the season, but he has still played 16 times and he netted his first goal for Mark Bonner's team against Plymouth back in February.

Lankester was Town's young player of the year 2018/19 and he played 30 times for the Blues, scoring three goals.

Should he start, or come on as a substitute today, he is sure to get a good reception from the Portman Road crowd.

#HerGameToo

This weekend will sees Ipswich Town celebrate #HerGameToo at both the game today against Cambridge United and the Women's match against Southampton at the Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, tomorrow.

Town partnered with the campaign in February which aims for women and girls of all ages to feel confident and safe sharing their opinion about football online and in real life without fear of sexist abuse.

The dedicated weekend will see a variety of activity taking place which will showcase the opportunities for young girls and women at the Club.

Both the men's and women's team will wear #HerGameToo warm-up t-shirts to raise awareness of the campaign.

And there will be plenty going on in the Fanzone dedicated to #HerGameToo.