MATCH PREVIEW: Spoil the Burnley promotion party and Ipswich Town take their play-off push to the last day

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

Burnley v Ipswich: Spoil the Burnley promotion party with a victory at Turf Moor this lunchtime and Ipswich Town are guaranteed to take their play-off push to the last day of the Championship season.

Spoil the Burnley promotion party with a victory at Turf Moor this lunchtime and Ipswich Town are guaranteed to take their play-off push to the last day of the Championship season.

The Blues may have missed two opportunities to control their own fate over the Easter weekend – losing 3-1 at Watford and drawing 2-2 at home to Bournemouth – but the faltering form of their top-six rivals means they remain very much in contention.

The Clarets may have lost just two of their 20 home league games this season, but Blues boss Mick McCarthy believes Sean Dyche’s men could ‘let their guard down’ after sealing second-spot and promotion to the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Wigan on Monday.

Overview

Mick McCarthy sees a lot of similarities between the Ipswich Town squad he is building and the Burnley outfit which has just sealed promotion to the Premier League.

The Clarets were relegated after just one season in the top-flight in 2010 and, instead of spending heavily in an attempt to bounce back quickly, set about a slow and steady rebuild.

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After finishes of eighth and 13th under Eddie Howe’s management, Sean Dyche took over and finished 11th last season.

Few outsiders had paid much attention to the quiet revolution that was underway at Turf Moor, the Lancashire side surprising many by storming to automatic promotion this season.

It’s a rise which gives hope to Ipswich Town fans. Burnley are proof that promotion can be secured on budget. They are perhaps a sign of what McCarthy – who has already turned a relegation battling team into one that is pushing for the play-offs within the space of 18 months – can achieve in the next season or two.

“They’re a bit like ourselves really,” admitted McCarthy. “We’ve done really well with a small squad. A bit like us he (Sean Dyche) has got some good experienced players who have been involved in Championship promotions. He’s he’s got four of the lads I had at Wolves in Jason Shackell, Michael Kightly, Dave Jones and Sam Vokes.

“I think everybody, me included, looked at the small squad they had early on and wondered whether they could maintain it. They’ve been a real success story.

“I don’t know what they’ve spent, but they are one of the lowest spenders in the league. It’s testament to the work they’ve done.”

Asked if Dyche should win Championship manager of the year, McCarthy said: “I’ve just voted. Nigel Pearson gets my vote because he’s won the league (with Leicester). You can say they’ve got the best squad and spent millions, but he had a lot of players on a lot of money and had to really reduce his squad and get it to a reasonable size.

“You can never underestimate the job someone does after they’ve just lost in a play-off semi-final, especially in the manner which they did. To come back and win the league, as he’s done, that makes him manager of the season for me.

“Sean Dyche got my second vote and Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) got my third having got them promoted (from League One) and done what they’re doing.”

Team news

BURNLEY

- Right-back Keiran Trippier (knee) is a doubt.

- Dyche has rarely tinkered this season, using the fewest players in the Championship (25). Ipswich have used just three more.

- Twenty-goal striker Sam Vokes (knee) was ruled out for the rest of the season at the end of March.

IPSWICH TOWN

- Centre-back Christophe Berra will return to action after missing Monday’s 2-2 home draw with Bournemouth with a tight hamstring. That should see Luke Chambers return to right-back and Frazer Richardson drop to the bench.

- Midfielders Paul Anderson (hamstring) and Anthony Wordsworth (dead leg) have not recovered from the injuries they suffered on Monday. Frank Nouble and Paul Green could replace them.

- Luke Hyam (hip) remains sidelined.

Likely Line-ups

BURNLEY (4-4-2): Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Marney, Jones, Kightly; Ings, Barnes.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-1-1): Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Nouble, Skuse, Green, Hunt; Williams; Murphy.

Head-to-head

Much has been said about Burnley strikers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes scoring 20 league goals each this season, but don’t underestimate the role that Ashley Barnes has played.

The 24-year-old was signed from Brighton for around £700,000 in January and has been an important figure of late with Ings missing for a spell and Vokes ruled out of the final seven games of the campaign.

In Daryl Murphy, Town have also had a player who has stepped up following an injury to the talismanic figure of David McGoldrick.

If the Blues are going to get a win at Turf Moor today then the Irishman will need to be on top form yet again – defending set-pieces in his own box, running the channels and providing a real aerial threat at the top end of the team.

Form

BURNLEY

Mon, April 21: Wigan (h) W 2-0

Fri, April 18: Blackpool (a) W 1-0

Sat, April 12: M’brough (h) L 0-1

Tues, April 8: Barnsley (a) W 1-0

Sat, April 5: Watford (A) D 1-1

IPSWICH TOWN

Mon, April 21: B’mouth (h) D 2-2

Sat, April 19: Watford (a) L 1-3

Sat, April 12: Doncaster (h) W 2-1

Tues, April 8: Hud’field (a) W 2-0

Sat, April 5: Blackburn (a) L 0-2

Opposition

Sean Dyche, Burnley boss

“We’ve still got to go hard, like we do, in the last two games.

“Beyond that we’ll start planning for the future, but at the moment it’s about enjoying the now.

“It’s a fantastic achievement already, but to finish with two points a game over a season is an unbelievable marker and hopefully we can maintain that.

“There are words we’ve used a lot; relentless, limitless. It’s just a mindset. The hardest thing is all the noise on the outside. It’s only noise if you stay focused on what you do.”

Prediction

Burnley 0 Ipswich Town 1

Ipswich’s best chance of keeping their season alive is probably sneaking a 1-0 win today.

The Clarets have conceded just 14 goals in their 20 home league games this season, losing just two of those matches. They could well take their foot off the gas after sealing promotion though, just as Leicester did when they lost 4-1 at home to Brighton. The first goal will be crucial. If Burnley break the deadlock they could enjoy themselves, if Town get in front the hosts won’t bust a gut to get back into it.

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Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter.

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