Mar 22, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Falmer Stadium
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
0-2
IpswichIpswich Town

Bruno (33')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Smith (60'), Murphy (80')
Smith (69')

Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Ipswich Town

Oscar Garcia of Brighton looks on during the FA Cup fifth round match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City at Amex Stadium on February 17, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between playoff-chasing rivals Brighton and Ipswich at the Amex.

Brighton & Hove Albion have the chance to enhance their own playoff prospects and all but end the hopes of one of their rivals' when they host Ipswich Town at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The Seagulls are currently just one point off the top six and have the luxury of a game in hand over sixth-placed Nottingham Forest, meaning that they control their own destiny.

With the likes of Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Derby County all struggling to find consistent form in recent weeks, Brighton will know that they cannot afford any similar slip-ups if they are to take full advantage.

Fortunately enough for Oscar Garcia's men, they aren't showing any signs of faltering at the moment having gone the whole of March unbeaten so far, winning three of their four matches and drawing the other.

That draw came against fellow playoff contenders Reading, a match which incidentally also saw the Seagulls concede their one and only goal this month.

Victory on Saturday could see them climb into the playoff places and possibly as high as fifth with a big enough victory and if results elsewhere fall kindly for them.

Only Wigan Athletic have beaten Brighton at the Amex in their last 11 outings there, a run that includes victories over the likes of Leicester City, Reading and QPR as well as a draw against Premier League side Hull City.

Craig Mackail-Smith returned to full training for the Seagulls this week but is not expected to feature, while Andrew Crofts remains a long-term absentee.

While defeat would almost certainly end Ipswich's playoff hopes, victory would put them very much in the mix and could leave them just three points off the top six.

For that to happen, the Tractor Boys will need to improve upon their 3-1 home defeat to Wigan in their last outing and start to perform against the teams around them in the table.

Mick McCarthy's side have alternated between defeats and victories in the last five games, but the wins have come against Birmingham City and Yeovil Town, while the likes of Leicester, Middlesbrough and Wigan have all come out on top.

Consistency will need to improve if they are to stand any chance of making a push for the playoffs, and three points on Saturday is also a must.

Ipswich have only won once in their last eight away games in all competitions, but that victory did come in their last match on the road as they beat Yeovil 1-0 at Huish Park.

The visitors are without David McGoldrick for the rest of the season, while Anthony Wordsworth and Frank Nouble are also doubts.

Recent form

Brighton: LLWDWW

Ipswich: DLWLWL

Possible starting lineups

Brighton: Kuszczak; Bruno, Upson, Greer, Ward; Forster-Caskey, Stephens, Ince; Buckley, Ulloa, Lingard

Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Green, Tabb, Skuse, Anderson; Williams; Murphy

Sports Mole says: 2-1

Wigan manager Uwe Rosler celebrates with the fans after the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic at Cardiff City Stadium on February 15, 2014
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