After the distractions of the FA Cup and transfer speculation, attention turns once more to the formalities of the league as Blackpool travel to Ipswich.
Portman Road has not been kind to us down the years; indeed we’ve never won there. We head into tomorrow’s game as favourites though after two great victories so far this year, and with Paul Jewell’s side struggling near the foot of the table.
We’re very much in the promotion shake-up – indeed a win tomorrow could see us jump to 5th. On the other hand a defeat could see us in the bottom half, with the Championship being as tight as ever.
With the teams at the top wobbling of late though, ‘Pool’s next few games offer them a real opportunity to stake their promotion credentials.
Ian Holloway and Karl Oyston have obviously had a bust-up judging from the ‘Pool manager’s comments in his pre-match press conference this afternoon, where he criticised his chairman over a range of issues:
‘I make [transfer] recommendations, the chairman thinks about them and then goes about it in his own inimitable fashion.
‘He upsets everyone under the sun and we probably end up with no-one. That’s how it works.
‘I think, ‘Here we go again – here’s another four weeks of complete, utter waste of time!’
‘Sometimes things are harder (at this club) than they need to be because people are stubborn – more stubborn than they need to be.’
Ipswich Team News:
Jason Scotland and Grant Leadbitter are in a race to be fit after picking up injuries in the Tractor Boys’ last-gasp midweek defeat against Birmingham.
Player to watch: Michael Chopra
Will be out for revenge after defeat against the Seasiders in the 2011 playoff final when he was at Cardiff.
Blackpool Team News:
Barry Ferguson serves the last game of his suspension, whilst Mark Howard should continue to deputise for Matt Gilks despite the latter’s return to training.
Ian Holloway faces a selection dilemma at the back, with Stephen Crainey, Bob Harris, Ian Evatt, Craig Cathcart, Danny Wilson, Alex Baptiste and Neal Eardley battling it out for four places.
Player to watch: Matt Phillips
On fire at the moment, can the much admired winger put in another star performance now that the spotlight is very much on him?
Match Facts & Stats
This is only the 20th competitive meeting. Ipswich have won eight, Blackpool four and seven of the previous 19 were drawn.
Blackpool are chasing a third successive league victory over the Tractor Boys, but they have never won at Portman Road.
Ipswich remain two places and three places above the relegation zone, after slumping to their 11th defeat in 14 league and cup games, and fourth in a row in Wednesday’s 2-1 reverse at Birmingham.
As Paul Jewell enters his second year in charge at Portman Road, he needs to shore up the poorest defence in the Championship, which has let in 49 goals in 24 outings.
The Seasiders have not lost a Championship game this season in which they have opened the scoring.
‘Pool v Palace next Saturday (3pm, Bloomfield Road)