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Preview: Ipswich Town vs. Huddersfield Town

Sports Mole takes a closer look at both sides as Ipswich Town prepare to host Huddersfield Town at Portman Road on Saturday.

Ipswich Town prepare to host Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon with both teams looking to bounce back from defeats they suffered before the international break.

The Tractor Boys currently sit 12th in the Championship table, while Huddersfield are five points further back in 18th spot.


Ipswich

Manager of Ipswich Town Mick McCarthy looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Ipswich Town at Griffin Park on August 8, 2015© Getty Images

Mick McCarthy will be hopeful that the international break has been kind to his players, who still have a lot of convincing to do as the club looks to prove it is strong enough to challenge for promotion this season.

After improving quickly in the previous campaign, like so many other sides the target was of course a place in the Premier League, but the early stages of the season suggest that the Tractor Boys are currently short of the quality required.

Ipswich may not have spent the money their rivals did over the summer, but with many of their key men still in place, the supporters would have been wishing for a better start than 15 points from the opening 10 matches.

Such is the nature of the Championship, Ipswich are unlikely to ever be out of contention and they currently sit only three points outside the playoff places, but the need to improve is clear after some inconsistent displays before the break.

Draws with Birmingham City and Bristol City arrived before a 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers at the start of the month, with former striker Jordan Rhodes condemning his old side to defeat with a brace at Ewood Park.

Much like last year, it would be safe to assume that McCarthy's side will improve as the season progresses, but consistency is the key for a team that faces two months without Ryan Fraser, who has been ruled out with a medial ligament injury.

Recent form: LLWDDL
Recent form (all competitions): LWDLDL


Huddersfield

Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell during the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest at John Smiths Stadium on September 24, 2015© Getty Images

Huddersfield return to action at the weekend hoping that an emphatic defeat before the international break will not be the result which halts their move up the table.

A promising finish to September included wins over Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers, but a three-match unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end when they slipped to a 3-0 loss against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

The challenge for Chris Powell will be to rally the troops after being such a clear second best, and the break may help his cause as the Terriers look to bounce back in their attempt to move further away from the relegation zone.

With just seven points separating the bottom three and the top half of the table after 10 games, Huddersfield can begin to prove their own doubters wrong with another stretch of impressive displays, but with games against Ipswich, Derby County and Burnley coming before the end of the month, the task will certainly not be easy.

There has been good news off the pitch this week as goalkeeper Jed Steer extended his loan for another month after deciding to sign a new contract with parent club Aston Villa, and Powell may already have eyes on keeping the 23-year-old for even longer.

As confident and upbeat as ever, Powell is determined to prove that his side are better than relegation battlers and a positive result in Suffolk would go a long way to convincing more people he is right.

Recent form: LLWWDL


Team News

Ryan Fraser of Ipswich during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Brighton and Hove Albion at Portman Road stadium on August 29, 2015© Getty Images

Fraser's injury is a big loss to an Ipswich side which has lacked creativity at times, and his absence could persuade McCarthy to hand a starting role to Tommy Oar at Portman Road.

David McGoldrick has been forced to settle for opportunities off the bench recently, but he is pushing to earn a recall as a strike partner for Freddie Sears or Daryl Murphy.

Huddersfield have been handed a boost with the news that James Vaughan, who has made just one appearance this season, should be fit enough to earn a spot in the squad after his injury troubles.

Captain Mark Hudson recovered from injury to take a spot on the bench in the defeat to Wolves, and the skipper looks set to return to the defence for the visitors.

Ipswich possible starting lineup:
Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Parr, Skuse, Douglas, Maitland-Niles, Oar, McGoldrick, Murphy

Huddersfield possible starting lineup:
Steer, Cranie, Hudson, Lynch, Davidson, Whitehead, Bunn, Huws, Scannell, Paterson, Wells


Head To Head

Nahki Wells and Vaughan were on target in April as Huddersfield clinched a 2-1 victory over the Tractor Boys, but that is the only win the Terriers have enjoyed in the last seven meetings between the two sides.

Two victories in the last 12 league encounters suggests that Huddersfield supporters will not have fond memories of Ipswich, who have not lost a home game to Saturday's opposition since December 1996.


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We say: Ipswich 2-0 Huddersfield

One victory in six Championship games means that Ipswich are running low on confidence, but the international break may have helped McCarthy, whose side will be desperate to put the pressure on promotion hopefuls over the next few weeks. Huddersfield should adopt a positive approach in the trip to Suffolk, and could be boosted by the return of Vaughan. However, Ipswich should have enough to collect all three points in front of their home fans.



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Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes celebrates after scoring his team's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rangers at Loftus Road on September 16, 2015
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