MATCH PREVIEW: Ipswich Town travel to Huddersfield needing to show their powers of recovery once again

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

Huddersfield v Ipswich: Ipswich Town will once again need to show their rapid powers of recovery if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive.

OVERVIEW

Ipswich Town will once again need to show their rapid powers of recovery if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive.

The gap to sixth-spot widened to five points following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.

Town followed up all four of their previous losses with victories though and a continuation of that formula at Huddersfield tonight would put them right back in the mix with just five games to go.


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The Terriers are 17th in the Championship table and a comfortable 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Manager Mark Robins says he will continue to try and play ‘decent football’, despite Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Bolton extending their run of games without a victory to seven.

Reading are in the box seat for the final play-off spot at present, but they travel to in-form Bournemouth tonight and still have games against Leicester, Burnely and Wigan to come.

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MICK’S MUSINGS

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he’ll make sure he’s left with no regrets as his side attempt to make a late surge into the Championship play-off places.

The Blues boss’ buzz phrases have always been ‘organised, putting in a shift and hard-to-beat’, but with the games starting to run out he has been more and more adventurous with his tactics of late.

Livewire loanee Jonny Williams has added spark since arriving on loan from Crystal Palace, while creative midfielder Anthony Wordsworth has been brought in from the cold and given the nod over more industrious types such as Paul Green and Jay Tabb,

In addition, the Blues boss has not been afraid to make early attacking substitutions with the Frank Nouble and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake making significant contributions off the bench.

Indeed, it could very well be a 4-3-3 starting line-up again today.

“I won’t be looking back on it with any regrets because we’ll go into every game looking to win the three points,” said McCarthy.

“We’re six points behind (the play-off places). I know it says five, but the goal difference makes it six.

“Reading are in pole position but they’ve got Bournemouth on Tuesday night and Bournemouth are the team that is flying. We’ve got Bournemouth to come and Reading have got some crazy fixtures – they’ve got all the top teams to play.

“It’s still there to be played for. There’s no question about that. We need something out of this game though.

“Three points would keep us right in the mix, while if we lost and the other teams around us won that would make it exceptionally hard.”

Just over a year ago, Ipswich and Huddersfield played out a turgid goalless draw at The John Smith’s Stadium as both teams scrapped for their Championship lives. McCarthy said afterwards that he ‘wouldn’t have bothered getting on the coach’ if he’d been offered a draw beforehand and has always maintained that there is no such thing as a bad away point.

Does that ethos still hold true given his side’s current position?

“I’d take a point from it, yeah,” he replied. “I wouldn’t say I’d stay here and not bother travelling up if they offered me a point now because we could do with three. There’s a gamble going on and we need to try and take all three points.

“I looked at the three games that we had coming up in a week (Blackburn away, Huddersfield away and Doncaster at home) and I was thinking if we could get five points – three at home and two draws away – that would be a good return. Well we’ve still got a chance of getting six.”

He added: “If we don’t get in the top six I’ll be disappointed because I think we’ve had a good enough season, but if we don’t make it I’ll probably reflect and be thinking ‘we have made good progress’.

“It’s not over yet though.”

TEAM NEWS

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

– Midfielder Keith Southern and strikers James Vaughan and Daniel Carr remain sidelined.

IPSWICH TOWN

– Ipswich have no fresh injuries following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Blackburn.

– Mick Mccarthy has revealed that top-scorer David McGoldrick is recovering well following knee surgery and could return to action before the end of the season.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

HUDDERSFIELD (4-5-1): Smithies; Dixon, Clarke, Gerrard, Smith; Ward, Norwood, Clayton, Gobern, Hammill; Wells.

IPSWICH (4-3-3): Gerken; Chambers, Bera, Smith, Cresswell; Skuse, Hyam, Williams; Wordsworth, Murphy, Nouble.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Ipswich were massively under the cosh in the first half of the reverse fixture and there no doubting who Huddersfield’s chief tormentor was.

Left-winger Adam Hammill – a former player of Mick McCarthy’s at Wolves – troubled the Blues with his direct running and he cracked the crossbar with one super effort.

Town’s major Achilles heel has been defending against pace from wide areas, but Luke Chambers has improved as a right-back.

Town won’t want to leave exposed one-on-one on too many occasions though and therefore Anthony Wordsworth (right) – who played on the right at Blackburn – will need to do his fair share of tracking back. The former Colchester man insists he works as hard as anyone and is desperate to keep his place in the side.

LAST MEETING

Ipswich 2 Huddersfield 1

Daryl Murphy headed home in the 89th minute to secure Ipswich Town an unlikely come-from-behind victory over Huddersfield Town last December.

The Blues trailed 1-0 at half-time courtesy of Danny Ward’s 35th minute strike, with James Vaughan having seen a penalty saved and Adam Hammill hitting the bar either side of the opener. After David McGoldrick’s fine strike levelled things up (50), both sides had spells on top before Murphy sealed a third successive win.

OPPOSITION

Mark Robins, Huddersfield Town manager

“Ipswich score a high percentage of their goals from set plays, which we’ve got to be better at.

“We have to be strong and physical against their physical threat, but they have also started to move and pass the ball a bit differently to before and they’ve also got another string to their bow in that they can go direct to some big powerful players.

“At the moment we are playing positively and well without being brilliant in the final third. It’s been the story for a while, but we need to start taking more of our chances.

“We are playing decent football and that will continue, because it has to be the DNA of the club, and I accept responsibility for the results. Since the turn of the year the results have not been brilliant, so we’ve got to make sure in these last six games we put in decent performances and get some good results. We have to step up to the plate and deliver for the supporters. It’s vitally important to us that the fans stick with us and keep believing, because ultimately we will have success.”

PREDICTION

Huddersfield 0 Ipswich 0

Last season’s goalless draw at The John Smith’s Stadium was a turgid affair between two teams fighting for survival. Both teams have made huge progress since then and are certainly playing with more freedom, but you can make a strong case for another 0-0 this afternoon.

Huddersfield are winless in seven and, in their manager’s words, have ‘not been brilliant in the final third’. Ipswich created little in their 2-0 loss at Blackburn with their biggest goal threat still coming from set-pieces.

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