Blues must end five-game home goal drought if they are to halt flying Millwall
PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 April 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
The fortunes of Ipswich Town and Millwall could barely be more different as the two teams prepare to meet at Portman Road today.
Only Cardiff have claimed more than the 22 points the Lions have taken from the last eight games, with Neil Harris’s side unbeaten in their last 14 Championship matches following their New Year’s Day loss at Norwich. They have also won their last six Championship away games.
They have also scored three first-minute goals in their last four games, all leading to wins which have moved the Lions to within a point of the play-off places.
By contrast, Ipswich have lost three on the bounce and have failed to score in any of their last five home games, heading into the first of manager Mick McCarthy’s four remaining home matches before the Blues boss departs Portman Road in the summer.
“We will need everybody at full tilt because they are flying,” McCarthy said ahead of the game.
“They are absolutely buzzing. I’ve said to the lads that however we feel (after the loss at Birmingham) it’s finished now, the first game after the announcement.
“Millwall are coming and they are a really tough, hard-working team. They are a right handful. And they played a day earlier. But we’ll be up for it.”
McCarthy admires the way Harris’s side play and revealed he attempted to bring winger Ben Marshall to Suffolk before he ultimately moved to The Den on loan from Wolves in January.
“(Steve) Morison and (Lee) Gregory up front and the two wingers, (Jed) Wallace and Ben Marshall are excellent,” he said. He (Marshall) was one we were trying to sign in the window and he’s been very good.
“They’ve been 4-4-2 and they are as hard a working team (as you will find) and they’re direct. They’ll get it up to the front two and it will be tough for us on Easter Monday.”
McCarthy is set to make changes to the side that lost 1-0 at Birmingham on Saturday, given the Blues will be playing their second game in 48 hours, with the Ipswich boss now needing to retain 10 players from the previous matchday 18 after the implementation of new rules to try to ensure full strength sides are played in the final weeks of the season.
“I’ll have to (think ahead) of course,” he said.
“If you think how much football some of them have played, lots and lots of football, and I think we’ve used as few players as anybody else in the league so we’ll have to have some fresh legs for Monday, that’s for sure.”