Match preview: Ipswich Town v Burton Albion – ‘It’s a huge game,’ says McCarthy

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:20 10 February 2018

Ipswich Town players celebrate taking a 2-0 lead at Sunderland last weekend. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town players celebrate taking a 2-0 lead at Sunderland last weekend. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town host Burton Albion in a Championship clash this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says its vital that his team back-up last weekend’s 2-0 victory at struggling Sunderland with another three points today against rock-bottom Burton Albion.

The Blues – who travel to rivals Norwich City next Sunday – have struggled to gain any sort of positive momentum over the last 18 months.

It took them until the Easter weekend before they recorded successive victories in 16/17. And, since opening this campaign with five straight wins, they have managed back-to-back wins just once – against Derby and Nottingham Forest back in November/December. “It’s a huge game and the players are aware of that,” said McCarthy. “In the dressing room last weekend Chambo (captain Luke Chambers) was saying ‘the only way we make this any effing good’ – excuse that – ‘is by beating Burton next Saturday’.

“It really is feet right back on the ground straight away. The only way that result becomes really important and really pertinent is if we back it up with a win.”

Freddie Sears made his first league start since Boxing Day last weekend. Photo: Steve Waller Freddie Sears made his first league start since Boxing Day last weekend. Photo: Steve Waller

Last weekend’s win saw the Blues remain eight points and six places adrift of the Championship play-off places due to the fact several other top-half sides were all victorious.

“We can’t do anything about anyone else’s results – we just have to look after our own,” said McCarthy.

“Had we lost last weekend we could have been only 14 points above the relegation zone and that gap could have closed it up.

“If we can win this weekend, who knows, the rest of them might not and we will just be five points off it.”

Burton are currently on a five-game losing streak in all competitions, conceding 15 goals in their last four games. Nigel Clough’s men, who defied the odds to avoid relegation in their debut season at second-tier level, are not cut adrift at the bottom though.

“It’s not going to be easy,” said McCarthy. “Burton will be scrapping away, they won’t panic, they’ll keep doing what they’re doing and trying to win games.

“Last season the place was so down there after we’d beaten them, everyone thought they were going down, but he (Clough) kept them up and that was a great achievement. That’s why they will be one of the favourites to stay up because they’ve done it before.”

Adam Werbster could return to Town's starting XI this afternoon. Photo: Steve Waller Adam Werbster could return to Town's starting XI this afternoon. Photo: Steve Waller

Opposition lowdown

Manager: Nigel Clough (Dec 2015: P109 W34 D27 L48)

Last five finishes: 20th (Champ’), 2nd (League One), 1st, 6th, 4th (League Two)

Current position: 24th

Burton are on a five-game losing streak under manager Nigel Clough. Photo: PA Burton are on a five-game losing streak under manager Nigel Clough. Photo: PA

Form: LLLLL WDLWW

Last game: L 3-2 Aston Villa (a)

Top-scorers: Dyer (6), Akins, Taylor (4)

Most assists: Akins (6), Lund, Palmer (2)

Away league record: P15 W4 D4 L7 F11 A25

Margins of victory 17/18: 1 (x7), 3 (x1)

Margins of defeat 17/18: 1 (x6), 2 (x7), 3 (x2), 4 (x2), 5 (x1), 6 (x1)

Ex-Town academy graduate Darren Bent joined Burton on loan from Derby last month. Photo: Burton Albion Ex-Town academy graduate Darren Bent joined Burton on loan from Derby last month. Photo: Burton Albion

Stat attack

• Burton were in the Southern Premier when Town finished 5th in the Premier League (00/01)

• 14 of Town’s 48 league goals have been from set-pieces (no penalties)

• 7 of Burton’s 58 league goals conceded have been from set-pieces

Ipswich Town team news

• Mick McCarthy says there ‘might be a couple of changes’ to the team which won 2-0 at Sunderland last weekend. Adam Webster, Bersant Celina, Mustapha Carayol and Stephen Gleeson were all on the bench at The Stadium of Light.

• David McGoldrick is once again sidelined with a ‘sore knee’ he hopes to recover from ‘soon’.

• Tom Adeyemi’s fresh hamstring injury – sustained in the Under-23s last week – ‘isn’t as bad as first feared’, but there is ‘no timeframe’ on his return to action.

• Tristan Nydam is unavailable through illness.

• Emyr Huws, Andre Dozzell (both knee) and Teddy Bishop (hamstring) are all ruled out for the season.

Burton Albion team news

• Left-back Tom Flanagan limped off during last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa and has been ruled out with a calf injury.

• Luke Murphy and Ben Turner, who were withdrawn with shin and calf injuries respectively at Villa Park, face late fitness tests.

• Ex-Town striker Darren Bent (on loan from Derby) and Martin Samuelsen could return to the team after injury and illness respectively.

• Damien McCrory, back from a loan at Portsmouth, could feature for the first time since August.

Opposition key man

Darren Bent

The well-travelled Town academy graduate, who spent years in the top-flight, is now aged 34. He joined the Brewers on loan from Derby last month and could be key to firing them to safety.

Odds

Ipswich Town 10/11

Draw 13/5

Burton Albion 39/10

Referee

David Webb (Lancashire)

Games: 29, Yellows: 66, Reds: 2

Last meeting

Burton Albion 1 Ipswich Town 2

Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017

Bersant Celina stepped off the bench late on and duly scored a sublime free-kick to secure a vital comeback win.

Town rode their luck in the first half, went behind to Ben Turner’s header (57) but levelled through Martyn Waghorn’s strike (66) to set up the dramatic finish.

Stuart’s prediction

Ipswich Town 3 Burton Albion 1

Town have increased attacking options and confidence. Burton have defensive worries and are leaking goals.

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