Trying to tame the Shrews, battling a promotion rival and facing a red-hot striker – predicting Town’s next five games
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town sit top of the League One table after their first five games of the season, Mark Heath takes a look at what’s coming up in the next five...
No matter which way you look at it, the Blues have made a decent start to life back in the third tier of English football.
Sitting top of any league, at any point, is not something that Town fans have been able to experience much in recent seasons, so let's just enjoy it for a bit, shall we?
Paul Lambert's men have 11 points from their first five and boast an unbeaten record, plus the league's best goal difference of plus seven.
James Norwood has hit the ground running, scoring four goals already and attracting Twitter interaction from acting icon Dwayne Johnson, while Kayden Jackson has bagged three.
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All looks rosy - but what's coming up next? Let's take a look...
I'll even venture a few predictions!
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Saturday, August 31: Shrewsbury Town (h)
The Shrews, formerly managed by fleeting ex-Town boss Paul Hurst, have made a good start to their League One campaign.
They sit ninth with eight points, having won two and drawn two of their opening five fixtures, with their only loss coming in a 1-0 reverse at MK Dons.
They've strengthened their squad with the signings of midfielders Sean Goss from QPR and Louis Thompson from Norwich, plus added veteran striker Steve Morison from Millwall too.
They have struggled for goals though, only notching four thus far, with no player netting more than once. In contrast, their defence has been stellar, with only three strikes conceded.
Mark's pick: 2-0 Town win
Saturday, September 7: Rochdale (a)
This game may yet get postponed - with Anthony Georgiou, Armando Dobra and Adam Przybek, Alan Judge and Idris El Mizouni all being called up for international duty at the start of September, the Blues could request that the match be moved.
A decision is expected on that this week, with Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell also potentially set to be named in England youth squads.
If the game does go ahead, the Blues will face a Rochdale side who have drawn three and won and lost one of their first five games, sitting in 13th spot in the table.
As befitting their mid-table status, Brian Barry Murphy's Dale have also scored and conceded five goals.
Mark's pick: 1-1 draw
Saturday, September 14: Doncaster (h)
The Blues have already faced Sunderland, Peterborough and Burton, teams backed by the bookies to be in the promotion mix, and in Doncaster they'll be up against another side tipped to do damage this season.
Darren Moore's men have only played four games so far due to their midweek clash with Bolton being postponed last week, but are unbeaten, having won two and drawn two, to sit in eighth spot.
Moore's side have been boosted by the arrivals of England youth striker Kaziah Sterling on a season-long loan from Spurs, plus former Rotherham winger Jon Taylor, while Kieran Sadlier leads their early goalscoring charts with two.
Another game where we'll find out a bit more about how good the Blues really are going to be this season.
Mark's pick: 2-1 Town win
Tuesday, September 17: MK Dons (a)
The Dons started their season a week after everyone else due to their opening day clash with now-expelled Bury being postponed.
And, though they've split their opening four games - two wins, two defeats - they've struggled at the back so far, going down 4-0 at home against Peterborough on Saturday and conceding three in defeat at Wycombe.
Midfielder Ben Reeves, part of the Dons side which won promotion to the Championship in 2015, returned to the club after being released by Charlton in the summer, but has struggled to make his mark in his second spell at the club.
No player has scored more than one goal for Paul Tisdale's Dons so far, who will need to improve significantly by the time Town visit.
Mark's pick: 2-2 draw
Saturday, September 21: Gillingham (a)
Another side who have only played four games due to Bury's issues, the Gills have not started the season as they would have hoped.
They have yet to win, losing two and drawing two of their first four and are currently toiling in 18th spot in the early League One table.
There has been a bright spot for Steve Evans' side though - on-loan Watford striker Alex Jakubiak has started the season in red-hot form, already netting three goals.
The 22-year-old is a man Town will need to be wary of when they visit - but will the home side be able to handle the likes of Norwood, Jackson and co?
Mark's pick: 3-1 Town win