Match preview: Ipswich Town are all but safe, while Newcastle’s promotion still not assured

Freddie Sears doubles Ipswich Town's lead at Burton on Good Friday. Photo: PAGEPIX

Freddie Sears doubles Ipswich Town's lead at Burton on Good Friday. Photo: PAGEPIX

Ipswich Town host Newcastle United in a Championship match tomorrow afternoon (3pm). Here’s what could be in store.

Mick McCarthy has some big decisions to make in the summer

Mick McCarthy has some big decisions to make in the summer

Newcastle keen to get over the line

The Magpies went into the Easter weekend with a chance of sealing a quickfire return to the Premier League at Portman Road. Those hopes were dashed on Friday as first Huddersfield snatched a last-gasp winner against Preston, then Rafa Benitez’s men conceded a 96th minute goal to draw 1-1 at home with Leeds.

It means their gap to third was cut to eight points with four games to play. The north east side aren’t exactly sprinting for the line – they’ve won just two of their last seven (and they were narrow home victories against Burton and Wigan) – but will not be short of confidence following a dominant display against Gary Monk’s promotion-chasers.

Blues out of trouble

Mick McCarthy has some big decisions to make in the summer

Mick McCarthy has some big decisions to make in the summer


You may also want to watch:


We all thought Town were safe when they beat Wigan, then doubts crept in again as others below them picked up wins, but Friday’s 2-1 win at Burton means they are now almost certainly set for a 16th successive season in the Championship. A point today could be enough to make it mathematically so. Mick McCarthy has always said he wouldn’t experiment with his line-up until that was the case.

And they look a threat

Most Read

Town were struggling to muster many attempts on goal for a long time, but they’ve posed a constant threat in their last three outings. David McGoldrick and Freddie Sears have struck up a decent strike partnership, while the fit-again Tom Lawrence has provided two assists. They could and should have scored more in both the 3-1 loss at Fulham and 2-1 win at Burton.

History

Aleksandar Mitrovic got the nod ahead of Daryl Murphy for Newcastle's 1-1 home draw with Leeds. Phot

Aleksandar Mitrovic got the nod ahead of Daryl Murphy for Newcastle's 1-1 home draw with Leeds. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Town haven’t beaten the Magpies since a 1-0 win at Portman Road – courtesy of a Marcus Stewart penalty – in their superb Premier League campaign of 2000/01. That December victory over Sir Bobby Robson’s men lifted them to third at the time.

The Magpies ran out comfortable 4-0 winners on their return to Suffolk in 2009 as they stormed their way to the Championship title. Once again promotion favourites following relegation, the big-budget outfit cruised to a 3-0 win over Mick McCarthy’s men at St James’ Park last October.

United by Sir Bobby

The late, great Sir Bobby Robson is an iconic figure for both clubs and opposition fans will be united in their love of one of English football’s most successful managers today. Half-and-half scarfs are far too abundant in modern football, but tomorrow they have meaning.

Daryl Murphy has played a bit-part role for Newcastle since his �3m switch from Ipswich. Photo: PA

Daryl Murphy has played a bit-part role for Newcastle since his �3m switch from Ipswich. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Will Daryl Murphy play?

It’s hard to tell. Toon’s 22-goal topscorer Dwight Gayle is out injured. Big money flop Aleksandar Mitrovic – labelled ‘not good enough’ by club legend Alan Shearer – got the nod ahead of Murphy on Friday.

Town’s former talisman has made just seven starts, eight substitute appearances and scored five goals since his £3m switch to St James’ Park at the end of last August.

The Irishman is sure to get a warm welcome back on his return to Suffolk.

Games both will have an eye on

Blackburn host Bristol City in a huge relegation six-pointer, while Huddersfield could put the pressure on Newcastle with a win at Derby.

Live coverage

Return to this website tomorrow for plenty of build-up, interviews, team news, live match coverage and reaction.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter