Ipswich will be looking to get back to winning ways against Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon, after their 2-0 defeat to Preston last weekend. Boro are starting to turn their season around after sacking Gareth Southgate when being just one point off top spot. Strachan took over, and saw his side slide down the league and were as low as 14th in the table. Now they are just 9th in the league and a win could put them just a point off sixth place.
Town on the other hand need to get back to winning ways else they could end the day level on points with Reading in the last relegation place, barring a big win for the Royals and a big defeat for the Blues.
The match will be a battle of the new January signings, with David Healy and Daryl Murphy signing for Ipswich on loan from Sunderland on deadline day. Boro also completed the purchases and loans of seven players, mostly from Strachan’s former club Celtic.
Ipswich Town Team News:
Arran Lee-Barrett will start in goal, with new signing Brian Murphy still injured. Alex Bruce and Tamas Priskin have been loaned out to Leicester and QPR respectively and obviously won’t be available.
Liam Rosenior will be at right back, with either Pim Balkestein or David Wright at left back. I’d go for Wright because Pim had a bit of a shocker against Preston last weekend. Gareth McAuley will play at centre half alongside Damien Delaney.
Jon Walters is still missing, so either Carlos Edwards or Jaime Peters will be on the right of midfield. Jack Colback will be on the left, with vice skipper Grant Leadbitter and David Norris in the centre. Up front, Roy Keane could hand debuts to deadline day signings David Healy and Daryl Murphy.
Player to watch: Daryl Murphy
Roy Keane finally got his man – let us see what all the hype is about!
Middlesbrough Team News:
Boro gaffer Gordon Strachan could hand debuts to new signings Scott McDonald and Lee Miller, who he pinched from his former side Celtic, with Kyle Naughton also joining on deadline day. They will probably line up with more January recruits, also from the Bhoys, Chris Killen, Willo Food and Stephen McManus.
Barry Robson, was also arrived from Parkhead, but he was sent off against Bristol City last weekend and will miss this one.
But Boro received a big blow on deadline day with left midfielder Adam Johnson moving to Man City for £7 million. He has scored 12 goals this season. They also failed to extend the loan of Villa midfielder Isaiah Osbourne.
The Red’s injury list is a sorry sight – Rhys Williams (pelvic injury), Seb Hines (ankle AND knee ligament damage), Chris Riggott and Emmanuel Pogatetz (hamstring) and Jeremie Aliadiere (ankle) all miss out. Former Town loanee Matt Bates is also a long term casualty with cruciate ligament damage. Poor bloke.
Player to watch: Scott McDonald
Personally I think he is a very good player and will pose the biggest threat of the Boro new boys.
Match Facts & Stats
Here’s a bit of a bad omen for you…
The last time that Ipswich and Middlesbrough played at Portman Road in the league, Town were 1-0 winners but then went on and got relegated from the Premiership. I would very much hate to see history repeat itself in the Championship!
Mr Keith Hill is in charge of this one.
I’ve given up on predicting Ipswich games, oh maybe I will this once – I think Middlesbrough are starting to get their season back on track and actually fancy them to beat Town today by the odd goal.
…it’s QPR away on Tuesday night, kick off at 8pm. Who knows will be in charge by then at Loftus Road!