Ipswich Town will host West Bromwich Albion at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon in the Championship, hoping to keep their top-two ambitions alive.
The Tractor Boys’ promotion hopes were dashed against Preston North End last time out, while the Baggies narrowly defeated Birmingham City at The Hawthorns.
Ipswich Town have now experienced back-to-back defeats for the first time in the 2023-24 season, dropping a five-goal thriller to Ryan Lowe’s Preston at Deepdale last weekend, despite the visitors coming close to leaving with a draw.
A woeful opening 40 minutes from the Tractor Boys saw them three goals behind in Lancashire, with an own goal from George Edmundson and a Will Keane double piling the pressure on Kieran McKenna’s men, and despite a late brace from Kieffer Moore, they were unable to avoid defeat.
Signing on loan from Premier League outfit Bournemouth until the end of the campaign, Wales international Moore will be aiming to fire Ipswich back into the top two, with Saturday’s hosts currently fourth in the Championship standings, two points behind second-placed Southampton.
With Russell Martin’s Saints currently enjoying a 23-match unbeaten run, it is going to take a lot for the Tractor Boys to gain automatic promotion to the top flight this term, but even a top-six finish would represent an amazing achievement for a side playing in the third tier last campaign.
Former Barnsley and Coventry City creator Conor Chaplin has been at the heart of the majority of the Ipswich’s stellar attacking play this term, with the 26-year-old bagging nine goals and providing six assists in 29 second-tier appearances, meaning he leads the club’s Golden Boot race.
After fiery derby clashes against local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tony Mowbray’s Birmingham, West Brom’s top-six dreams have suffered a setback following league defeats to Swansea City and Norwich City since the turn of the year.
Andreas Weimann, an ex-Aston Villa attacker, scored against Birmingham to secure all three points for the Baggies last time out in the Championship, in a game overshadowed by an off-field incident, with Blues midfielder Juninho Bacuna reporting racist abuse from the stands.
Following a poor start to 2024, Carlos Corberan’s side is presently sixth in the second-tier table, four points ahead of Mark Robins’ Coventry City in seventh, with the Sky Blues having lost only one match since the beginning of December.
A handful of West Brom’s January acquisitions earned their debuts against Birmingham last weekend, including Callum Marshall and Mikey Johnston, who joined on loan from West Ham United and Celtic, respectively, ahead of the second half of a pivotal season for the Albion.