MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 20:14:02| >> :600:353822:353822:
Apr 14, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Portman Road
IpswichIpswich Town
3-1
CardiffCardiff City
Sears (8'), Skuse (29'), Murphy (93')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Doyle (13')

Preview: Ipswich Town vs. Cardiff City

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Championship clash between Ipswich Town and Cardiff City at Portman Road.

A dramatic playoff race continues for Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening when they host Cardiff City at Portman Road.

As the eight-team battle to secure a spot in the Premier League goes on, the pressure to avoid disappointing results is higher than ever and a meeting with a side comfortable in mid-table is certain to bring its own challenges.


Ipswich Town

Freddie Sears of Ipswich Town celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Birmingham City at Portman Road on February 24, 2015 © Getty Images

Mick McCarthy's side head into their latest test on the back of a victory which was far more difficult to secure than expected when Championship fans looked at the weekend's fixture list.

Despite being short of their best, Ipswich managed to battle to a 3-2 victory over relegated Blackpool on Saturday thanks to Christophe Berra, who scored a late winner to clinch three crucial points.

Although the performance may not have been ideal, McCarthy will be fully aware that results are all that matters at this stage of the season, and recovering from a winless Easter weekend was surely more important than the display in Suffolk.

Before the win over Blackpool, a draw with leaders Bournemouth and defeat to Huddersfield Town had put the pressure on, but Saturday's triumph helped the Tractor Boys regain sixth spot.

Ipswich prepare for the meeting with Cardiff just one point behind fifth-placed Derby County, but with Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers level on points with them, there is simply no room for slip-ups.

It could be Saturday's trip to Wolves which has the biggest say in whether Ipswich's promotion bid is successful, but taking a win into that fixture could prove to be vital.

Recent form: LWWDLW


Cardiff City

Cardiff City player Federico Macheda and team mates celebrate the first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic at Cardiff City Stadium on March 7, 2015 © Getty Images

For Russell Slade, ensuring that his Cardiff players remain motivated in the closing stages of the season will surely be the biggest challenge as the Bluebirds look to clinch a top-half finish.

A season after losing their Premier League status, hopes of an immediate return to the top flight of English football were dashed in the first half of the campaign and supporters will already be looking to the summer in hope that new additions can boost a promotion bid.

The same supporters remained in the Welsh capital to protest a "derisory" 500-ticket allocation, and they missed an impressive win as Slade's men picked up a 2-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road.

Cardiff's travelling fans will be back for another long trip on Tuesday, and recent form suggests that they will arrive full of confidence thanks to a seven-match unbeaten run away from home.

Slade will be keen to ensure that his side do not lose focus in their final four games, and they could move level on points with ninth-placed Nottingham Forest with another victory.

Home fixtures against Millwall and Blackpool follow Tuesday's test, and the Bluebirds will be quietly confident about finishing the season with an extended winning run after a campaign of frustration.

Recent form: WDWDLW


Team News

Cardiff manager Russell Slade looks on ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Cardiff City at The Den on October 25, 2014

Cardiff are expected to be forced into at least one change after Conor McAleny was forced off in the first half of the win over Leeds due to injury, and Eoin Doyle is likely to take his place in attack.

Joe Mason is likely to keep his place in the side, while Lee Peltier is expected to start at full-back once again.

Ipswich could be without Luke Varney, who lasted just 23 minutes against Blackpool at the weekend, and that may see Jonny Williams return to the starting lineup.

There is still no good news regarding the fitness of David McGoldrick, which means Daryl Murphy and Freddie Sears should continue their partnership up front.

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

Cardiff possible starting lineup:
Marshall, Peltier, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Malone, Noone, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Doyle, Mason


Head To Head

Murphy handed Ipswich the lead in the reverse fixture back in October, but Cardiff responded impressively in the Welsh capital to secure a 3-1 victory with goals from Peter Whittingham, Federico Macheda and Adam Le Fondre.

Cardiff have lost just one of their last five games against Ipswich, with their most recent defeat coming when Lee Martin scored twice in a 3-0 triumph for the Tractor Boys in February 2012.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Ipswich 2-0 Cardiff

Ipswich will take confidence from battling to a win over Blackpool, and ahead of a crucial meeting with Wolves, McCarthy's side should be ready to produce their best at Portman Road. Cardiff picked up an impressive win at the weekend, but the hosts have enough to pick up all three points.



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Christophe Berra for Ipswich Town on January 4, 2015
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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