Previews Saturday’s League One clash between Ipswich Town and Peterborough United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Aiming to keep up the pressure at the top of League One, second-placed Ipswich Town welcome an ailing Peterborough United to Portman Road on Saturday.
While Town are unbeaten in the league since October, their visitors have lost five of their last six in all competitions following last week’s defeat at home to Barnsley.
Nearly a full year into his reign as Ipswich manager, Kieran McKenna has guided the Suffolk side to within a whisker of top spot in the League One standings, and his team have lost just twice in the third tier this season.
Their push for automatic promotion was stalled last weekend, though, as the Tractor Boys let two precious points slip through their fingers when held to a 1-1 draw by Fleetwood Town.
Despite taking an early lead through Luke Woolfenden, conceding a 96th-minute equaliser denied them victory just as they seemed set to leap above league leaders Plymouth, who lost at home to Port Vale.
While Ipswich have generally impressed this term, a tendency to let leads slip will surely worry McKenna, as they also failed to fully capitalise against both Cheltenham and Charlton.
Nonetheless, another chance to surpass Plymouth awaits, with Town occupying second place in the table on 42 points – only one behind. Their encounter with fellow promotion hopefuls Peterborough kicks off early to avoid clashing with the World Cup quarter-finals, so victory would take them to the summit for a couple of hours at least.
Having suffered a fourth successive defeat following their 2-1 reverse against Barnsley last Friday, Peterborough arrive at Portman Road in desperate search of a return to form; now only clinging on to a playoff place.
In recent weeks, Grant McCann‘s men have gone out of the FA Cup, been eliminated from the EFL Trophy by Chelsea Under-21s and have lost each of their last three league games for good measure.
Though Posh pulled themselves level through Jack Taylor‘s 21st-minute strike after conceding an early goal last time out, they were unable to keep Barnsley at bay after the interval – leaving McCann leading the chorus of criticism directed at his faltering squad.
The ex-Hull boss kept his players locked in the dressing room for more than an hour following that result, and pressure is building on him to turn things around.
Already 11 points adrift of Ipswich in the race for automatic promotion, Peterborough cannot afford to let that gap grow this weekend. However, a dismal record of seven defeats from 10 away fixtures so far suggests they will be hard-pressed to take home even a single point.
Ipswich Town League One form:
Ipswich Town form (all competitions):
Peterborough United League One form:
Peterborough United form (all competitions):
Although they failed to close out victory due to their late lapse against Fleetwood, Ipswich are expected to keep a relatively settled side on Saturday.
Left-back Leif Davis was named in the EFL League One Team of the Week after his corner led to Luke Woolfenden’s second-minute opener, and both should feature in the hosts’ XI again.
Kayden Jackson will continue to compete with Freddie Ladapo for a start up front, while former Rangers defender George Edmundson aims to get the nod for a place in Town’s back three after recently being consigned to the bench. Meanwhile, Marcus Harness remains out of action, but Greg Leigh recently overcame a knee injury and is available.
Peterborough’s lineup, by contrast, could feature several changes as Grant McCann aims to end their slump, though top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris is once more set to provide their focal point in the final third.
While Ollie Norburn is out until the end of January, left-back Joe Tomlinson returned to training this week after a foot injury. Hull City loanee Harvey Cartwright is due back soon following a thigh problem; in the latter’s absence, Lucas Bergstrom continues as the visitors’ undisputed number one.
Ipswich Town possible starting lineup:
Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Burns, Morsy, Humphreys, Davis; Chaplin, Edwards, Ladapo
Peterborough United possible starting lineup:
Bergstrom; Ward, Knight, Edwards, Butler; Fuchs, Taylor; Poku, Burrows, Mason-Clark; Clarke-Harris
We say: Ipswich Town 2-1 Peterborough United
Both teams know their way to the back of the net, so there is every chance of seeing goals for either side in Saturday’s early kickoff. Given Peterborough’s rough run of form and struggles on the road though, it could be Ipswich that take the spoils.
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