Preview: Ipswich Town v Burnley

portman road 2
Jamie Smith March 21, 2012

Burnley can build on the foundations laid at Cardiff at Ipswich, writes Jamie Smith.

The Clarets got a good point at Cardiff City at the weekend but have another long trip down to East Anglia, where they must win to stand any chance of finishing in the top six at the end of the season.

Jay Rodriguez missed out on the trip to Wales on Sunday with a groin problem and might be out again, which could open the door for a return to the side for Charlie Austin. Danny Ings will want a run of games until the end of the season and was bright at Cardiff.

Danny Lafferty made his full debut at the Cardiff City Stadium and Junior Stanislas returned to the team. Both will be hoping they hold on to their place in the side.

Paul Jewell has to decide whether or not to start Jason Scotland, with the big striker close to activating a clause in his contract that would see him tied to the club for another year.

Burnley and Ipswich both lie in mid-table going into the match. Indeed, the Clarets are just a point and a place better off than Town, who were expecting to contend at the top end of the Championship this season but have had a disappointing campaign.

Home form has been good for the Tractor Boys and they have won their last four at Portman Road, with no defeats since the start of January, when they were beaten by Nottingham Forest. Jewell has stabilised the club – for a long time they were battling relegation, but recent victories over Cardiff, Bristol City and Peterborough United have elevated them up the table.

The Clarets are in a bad spell at the moment after collecting only two points from the last five matches since a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Barnsley. We’ve been good on the road this season, but haven’t won away since Forest at the end of January.

Our season looks like petering out for the last few matches and only a win at Portman Road would keep it alive. Victory will see us leap into 12th position, although there would still be a seven-point gap to make up on the top six.

Drawing at Cardiff should be a confidence boost for a young team and although Town have a strong home record of late, I think we can get a result. But it might only be a third draw in a row, which would see us slip out of contention altogether, although it would mark us reaching the famous 50-point mark that effectively secures our place in the league for next season.

Prediction: Ipswich Town 1-1 Burnley.