Town look to make Portman Road a fortress starting with the visit of Burton Albion
Town host Burton Albion on Saturday afternoon looking to return to winning ways. Paul Lambert’s men are without a win in four, but did manage to stop the losing run with a pretty pathetic goalless draw at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
That run of one point from twelve has seen Town slip from first down to seventh in a space of a matter of weeks. From promotion favourites to dark horses for even a play-off place. There is a silver lining though, out of the remaining 13 fixtures, nine of those at Portman Road. That will mean improving on a home record which has so far yielded 20 points from 13 League One games.
Burton travel to Suffolk five places and six points behind Town in the standings. Nigel Clough’s team have struggled of late, with the departure of leading scorer Liam Boyce in January key to their downturn in form. Like Town, the Brewers will be hoping tomorrow can kickstart their own promotion push as instead of the season fizzling out.
Tomas Holy will continue in goal behind the back three of Luke Woolfenden, James Wilson and Luke Chambers.
Gwion Edwards is set to replace Janoi Donacien at right wing-back after serving his two game suspension. Luke Garbutt will hopefully be fit, after missing the last two through a thigh strain, to replace Josh Earl on the left.
Flynn Downes, one booking away from a two game suspension, will probably be partnered by Emyr Huws in a two man midfield. Paul Lambert may recall Alan Judge to the side in the advanced midfield role, with his side looking to create more chances for the struggling forwards.
In attack, it will be very much two from three, with Kayden Jackson, James Norwood and Will Keane all vying to start. Jackson seems the most likely to get the nod, probably partnered by James Norwood, with Keane settling for a place on the bench alongside Freddie Sears.
Paul Lambert has reiterated that the top two is still the priority for his side despite falling out of the play-off spots last weekend.
“Finishing in the top two places is still the aim,” Lambert told iFollow Ipswich.
“We have to be more ruthless though. It’s both ends of the pitch where it really counts in football. If you defend well, you give yourselves a platform to win football matches. Score goals and you win football matches.
“We have the players here to score goals. They have already shown that this season but it’s clear that we need to start taking our chances because we have to get back to winning games and we have to do that quickly.
“You can have all the possession you like; it’s about putting the ball in the back of the net. The money shot. That’s the only thing missing.”
As already mentioned ,nine of Town’s 13 remaining games are at home and Lambert added: “The expectation is there and the players have to stand up and be counted.
“The fans have been brilliant but we need them to stay with us. Patience will be important because teams will come here and look to frustrate us.
“Players can start to get edgy and that’s not good for them. For a lot of them, this is the first time they are playing with that expectation.”
Burton manager Nigel Clough is looking forward to having the opportunity to avenge the opening day defeat against Town, when his side visit Portman Road on Saturday.
“I think we have a point to prove after the first day of the season when we were beaten very unfairly after a deflection,” Clough told the Brewers’ official site.
“They have been a bit of a bogey side as we have played so well against them and haven’t had the results. If you think about the games in the Championship and here in August, we are due a bit of luck against them.
“We are looking forward to the game. It’s always an enjoyable experience going to Portman Road. It’s one of those football clubs who have been at the top level for so long and have the history and the stadium and it should be an enjoyable experience for our players.”