Ipswich Town could be called rudderless in more ways than one. They are currently sitting in 12th place in the table and after a dreadful run of 1 win and 5 losses in their last 8 games ruled them out of any playoff contention as well as costing manager Mick McCarthy his job after 5 and a half years in charge of the East Anglian team.
As a result of this, they have turned to Head of Coaching and Player Development Bryan Klug to take charge of the failing side for the final four games of the season. Saturday’s clash with Villa will be his first home game in front of the Portman Road faithful.
After winning their first 4 games of the season, Ipswich fans have been left sorely disappointed with how their season on has panned out. Since then, Ipswich has lost 19 games, the 4th most of any team outside the bottom 4.
However, all hasn’t been bad at Portman Road this campaign with striker Martyn Waghorn topping the goal scoring and assists charts with 14 goals and 8 assists. The 28-year-old is also registering 1.8 shots per game this season which to put it into perspective, is more than any Villa player other than Lewis Grabban with 1.9.
Villa will have to be efficient with their shooting and can’t afford to waste chances due to the fine form that Ipswich keeper, Bartosz Bialkowski is in. The 30-year-old Polish internationals has made 3.4 saves per game in the league, second only to Sheffield Wednesday’s Joe Wildsmith.
A big problem for Ipswich this term has been there discipline. They have conceded just 1 red card but a staggering 81 yellow cards which are the third most yellows in the league. With the likes of Jack Grealish and Robert Snodgrass running at an Ipswich side lacking confidence, the referee’s notebook could fill up quite quickly.
THE BIG MATCH
On Sunday, Aston Villa will come up against another mid-table side after playing a couple in recent weeks. However, the outcome of these games has been very different. At Carrow Road, Villa was humbled after a 3-1 defeat in which they were dominated by Norwich for the majority of the game. This couldn’t be more different from the game we witnessed at home to Leeds where Paul Heckingbottoms men showed no fight at all and resulted in a 1-0 win for Villa.
So far this season, the Tractor Boys have lined up in either a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 formation. Villa has coped well against 3 at the back formations with wins over both Wolves and Cardiff who both employ this system so Bruce’s men will use that as motivation.
Personally, I would look to deploy Birkir Bjarnason in the defensive midfield role if fit or Glenn Whelan if the Icelandic midfielder isn’t able to make the trip to East Anglia. The reason I would opt with either of these two over Mile Jedinak is due to their mobility which will allow them to cope with Ipswich’s overloaded midfield better.
Steve Bruce has stated that he won’t risk John Terry if he is not 100%. The former Chelsea defender has missed the last two games with an ankle injury but returned to training this week. Villa won’t want to antagonise an injury with the playoffs on the horizon.
Jonathan Kodjia will be unavailable after feeling sore following his come back from a long-term injury. It is thought that it is nothing serious and just a precaution.
Both Alan Hutton and Axel Tuanzebe will both miss out. Hutton is set to return to training on Monday morning while Tuanzebe will miss the rest of the regular season with a hamstring injury.
Ipswich will be without top goal scorer Joe Garner, striker David McGoldrick and midfielder Emyr Huws.
It is thought that caretaker manager, Klug, will make unforced changes following his sides below-par performance last weekend.
Aston Villa has sold its full allocation of 2,020 tickets so do not travel without a ticket. Ipswich has described ticket sales in the home end as ‘selling well’.
LIVE MATCH CHAT
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