Apr 19, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Vicarage Road
Watford
3-1
IpswichIpswich Town
Riera (21'), Angella (63'), McGugan (65')
Angella (60'), McGugan (70'), Tozser (83')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Watford vs. Ipswich Town

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy looks on during his team's Championship match against Millwall on January 18, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between Watford and playoff-chasing Ipswich at Vicarage Road.

Ipswich Town will know exactly what is needed of them by the time they travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford this Saturday.

With the playoff race hotting up, the Tractor Boys play a day later than the rest of their top-six rivals, with Wigan Athletic, Reading, Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth all in action on Good Friday.

Whether that will prove to be a bonus or a burden remains to be seen, but should any slip-ups occur on Friday then Ipswich will need to take full advantage.

They are currently only out of the top six on goal difference, level on points with both Reading and Brighton, and with four games remaining of the season there is very little room for error.

A crucial encounter with Bournemouth is next up for Mick McCarthy's side on Monday, before a tricky away day against Burnley and the season finale at home to Sheffield Wednesday. It is not an easy run-in for Ipswich, then, which places even more emphasis on Saturday's match.

They go into the game in good form having lost just one and won four of their last six matches, with an 86th-minute winner handing them three vital points in their 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers last weekend.

They have also improved away from home within the last month or so, winning three of their last four matches on the road and keeping three clean sheets in the process.

However, their record against Watford in recent times leaves a lot to be desired. They have failed to beat the Hornets in 17 of their last 18 meetings in all competitions.

McCarthy will still be without David McGoldrick as he undergoes surgery on his knee today, Sylvain Ebanks-Blake is also out. Aaron Cresswell, however, should be fit to start having overcome a groin problem.

Watford, meanwhile, are still mathematically in with a shout of the playoffs this season, but with such a competitive race shaping up it is highly unlikely that they will join it at this stage of the campaign.

They are currently seven points behind sixth-placed Reading and have an impressive goal difference in their favour, as well as a game in hand that could lift them up to 60 points if they can take advantage.

However, if they are to make a late charge for the playoffs then they would have to be almost perfect in their remaining five matches - an unlikely scenario considering that they have not won more than three games in a row all season.

A five-match unbeaten streak coming into this game suggests that they are finding form at the right time, but three of those games have ended all square, including a disappointing 2-2 draw with struggling Millwall in their last outing.

Their home form is very impressive, however, having gone nine games without a defeat at Vicarage Road in all competitions. The last eight of those matches have come in the Championship and have included no less than six clean sheets.

Manager Giuseppe Sannino has a relatively injury-free squad to choose from, with Cristian Battocchio the only doubt for Saturday's game.

Recent form

Watford: LDWDWD

Ipswich: WWDLWW

Possible starting lineups

Watford: Almunia; Hoban, Angella, Ekstrand; Anya, McGugan, Faraoni, Tozser, Murray; Deeney, Forestieri

Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Mings; Anderson, Skuse, Hyam, Nouble; Williams; Murphy

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy looks on during his team's Championship match against Millwall on January 18, 2014
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