.Ipswich Town - GET TICKETS HEREThe Championship re-commences this weekend, with League leaders Cardiff City hosting Mick McCarthy's
It also sees two of the three nominations for Championship Manager of the Month coming head-to-head, with McCarthy andMalky Mackaybeing short-listed for the award for December. Since the arrival of McCarthy at the beginning of November, Ipswich have started to see a change of fortunes. They are now out of the relegation zone having picked up thirteen from the last eighteen on offer.
There have been some impressive results for the Tractor Boys since the managerial change. They have picked up a number of wins on the road against the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic. It has not been all plain sailing though when travelling to face teams in the higher positions in the league. They suffered heavy losses at both Leicester City and Crystal Palace losing the two games 6-0 and 5-0 respectively.
Ipswich have gained more victories away from home this season than at Portman road, winning five games on their travels. Their cause for concern would have to be the amount of goals they have leaked away from home. In the thirteen games they have conceded twenty-seven goals, more than two a game while only scoring eleven themselves. Their task on Saturday will become even more difficult with their leading scorer DJ Campbell returning to his parent club Queens Park Rangers. However, McCarthy does have ten strikers in his squad after recent transfer activity.
Key Players: also on the books, options are certainly available to the manager.Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra. McGoldrick, in fact, is up for the player of the month nomination in League One for his performances while on loan at Coventry City. He scored five goals in four games in December and could really be a force to be reckoned with if he does feature on the weekend. With Aaron Mclean and David McGoldrick, Frank NoubleIpswich have been one of the busier Championship clubs in the opening third of the transfer window, having bolstered their attacking options with the acquisitions of strikers
Ipswich have some top-flight experience in their midfield too, in the shape ofNigel Reo-Coker. Reo-Coker was capped twenty-three times for England under 21s and his influence in the centre of the field could prove vital if Town are to leave the Welsh Capital with anything come Saturday evening. The addition of Patrick Kisnorbo will also bolster what at times has been a suspect defence.
Previous Meetings: Ipswich have won nearly twice as many games as Cardiff City when you look at the head-to-head statistics. In the forty-two ties played between the two sides, the Suffolk side have won on twenty occasions compared to City’s eleven triumphs. Eleven of the games have ended all square. Before this season Cardiff City had failed to beat Ipswich in the last seven encounters. That changed with the victory earlier this season at Portman Road - but can Malky Mackay’s men complete their first double over Ipswich Town since the 1946/47 season?
Last Meeting: Ipswich Town 1 – 2 Cardiff City (06/10/2012)
AHeidar Helgusonbrace ensured that Cardiff City remained at the top of the Championship table. It did not look like that was going to be the case at first asDJ Campbellput the home side ahead on the stroke of half time, albeit with the use of his hand. Even he looked surprised when the goal was given!
The second half saw a complete turn around in fortunes for City. Helguson got his first after Scott Loach spilled the ball in the area and the Icelandic striker was the quickest to react. It looked as if the game was heading for a draw, but that man Helguson got his second with only two minutes left of normal time.
Ipswich Town Line-up: Lee-Barrett, Smith, Carson, Ainsley.Subs not used:Loach, Chambers, Cresswell, Higginbotham, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Wellens (Luongo), Drury, Campbell (Scotland), Murphy (Bilel).
Cardiff City Line-up: Lewis, Kiss, Kim, Velikonja.Subs not used:Marshall, Taylor, McNaughton (Turner), Hudson, Connolly, Whittingham, Cowie, Noone (Conway), Gunnarsson, Mason (Gestede), Helguson.