MX23RW : Sunday, September 26 11:47:57| >> :600:3010656:3010656:
Apr 11, 2015 at 3pm UK at Portman Road
IpswichIpswich Town
Sears (24', 28'), Berra (83')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Orlandi (4'), Cameron (63')

Preview: Ipswich Town vs. Blackpool

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between playoff-chasing Ipswich Town and relegated Blackpool at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town will look to take advantage of Blackpool's confirmed relegation to improve their own playoff hopes when the two sides meet at Portman Road on Saturday.

The Tangerines' fate was sealed on Monday, but the Tractor Boys still have plenty to fight for as they look to recover from the damage done over their own Easter double-header.

Ipswich Town

Manager of Ipswich Town Mick McCarthy looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Ipswich Town and West Ham United at Portman Road on July 16, 2014© Getty Images

The Championship promotion race continues to swing this way and that, but Ipswich will be hoping more than anybody that there are a few twists left in the tale.

The Tractor Boys find themselves eighth in the table with five games remaining following a damaging double-header over Easter.

A draw at home to leaders Bournemouth was by no means a poor result, but defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Town was unexpected and pounced upon by Wolverhampton Wanderers, who took maximum points over their two games to move into the top six.

Slight consolation for Ipswich came in Brentford also dropping points on Monday, but Mick McCarthy's side are now three points off the pace and have some work to do.

Saturday should provide the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways and limit the damage done by failing to build on their surprise 1-0 triumph over Watford before the international break.

That is their only win in six matches against fellow members of the top 10 since the turn of the year, however, and considering that their final three games of the campaign are all against members of that group, that is a record they will need to improve.

Ipswich's run-in has been helped by the plights of other teams, however, with playoff rivals Wolves the only remaining opposition for McCarthy's side who have anything to fight for.

That clash at Molineux a week from Saturday could be a pivotal one in the race for the top six, but McCarthy will know that his side can't afford to be looking that far ahead just yet. A home tie against Blackpool is as close to a banker as you will get in this league, but sometimes a relegated team can play with a sense of freedom that can make them dangerous opposition.

Goals have been an issue of late for Ipswich, who haven't scored more than one in a game since February, but they do still boast the league's top scorer in Daryl Murphy.

Their home form is one of the most impressive in the division, but wins have dried up a little since the turn of the year. They have won just three of their nine outings at Portman Road in 2015, compared to nine of their first 12 this season.

Recent form: DLWWDL


Blackpool manager Lee Clark looks dejected during the Sky Bet Championship match against Watford at Vicarage Road on January 24, 2015© Getty Images

For Blackpool, the remainder of this season is merely an exercise in getting ready for next year in League One, although with another summer of upheaval expected, that is easier said than done.

The Tangerines had their relegation confirmed courtesy of Rotherham United's win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Easter Monday, leaving them powerless to postpone the inevitable when they took to the field on the Tuesday.

In fairness, their heads did not drop and they played out a third consecutive 1-1 draw against Reading at Bloomfield Road, only being denied a fifth win of the season by an own goal.

They have taken the lead in all three of those draws, and the avoidance of defeat this weekend would equal their longest unbeaten run of the season at four.

That is very much a glass-half-full perspective, however, and the pessimists will tell you that it is also 13 matches since the Seasiders won a game - their longest winless streak of the campaign too.

Back-to-back games against playoff hopefuls Ipswich and Derby County are unlikely to end that run, particularly as they both come on the road, where Blackpool have not won all season.

They remain the only team in the top four tiers of English football not to have picked up a win on the road this term, while their tallies of seven points, 14 goals scored and 46 conceded away from home are all the worst in the division.

Pride is something that has taken a battering all season for the club, but they could at least salvage an element of it by picking up five points from their remaining five games.

The lowest points total since the second tier was rebranded as the Championship is 29, set by Rotherham in the 2004-05 campaign, and Blackpool would need to continue their recent average of a point per game to better that.

Recent form: LLLDDD

Team News

Tyrone Mings for Ipswich Town on February 14, 2015© Getty Images

Tyrone Mings is expected to return from suspension this weekend, having completed a two-game ban for picking up his 10th yellow of the season against Watford.

Mings joined Dean Gerken and Stephen Hunt in playing for the club's Under-21 side this week, although McCarthy is unlikely to risk either of that pair from the start against Blackpool.

Luke Varney will be hoping to keep his place in the side having scored against Huddersfield, but Freddie Sears is pushing for a recall alongside Murphy up front.

The visitors have been hit by injury problems on top of everything else this week, with Grant Hall (head) and Joe Lewis (ankle) being ruled out for the remainder of the season.

They join Tom Aldred on the sidelines, while Michael Jacobs has been recalled by parent club Wolves.

Ipswich possible starting lineup:
Bialkowski; Smith, Berra, Chambers, Mings; Williams, Bishop, Skuse, Tabb; Sears, Murphy

Blackpool possible starting lineup:
Parish; Clarke, Addison, O'Dea, Dunne; Cubero, Perkins, Orlandi, O'Hara, Ferguson; Delfouneso

Head To Head

Ipswich come into this match defending a proud record of having never lost at home to Blackpool in league competition, winning six and drawing five of their 11 meetings.

A 2-0 triumph in the reverse fixture - Clark's first game as Blackpool boss - made it four meetings unbeaten home and away for the Tractor Boys, with three of those ending in wins.

Blackpool's last victory came in style, however, as they thumped Ipswich 6-0 at Bloomfield Road in August 2012.

Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Ipswich 2-0 Blackpool

There really should only be one winner here. Ipswich haven't been in the best form of late, but it would be a major shock if they got anything other than three points at home to a Blackpool side who have nothing left to fight for after their relegation. It is a must-win clash for the hosts, and they should run out fairly comfortable victors.

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Tyrone Mings for Ipswich Town on February 14, 2015
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Mings to play for Ipswich's Under-21s

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