THE Championship promotion races is really starting to hot up. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the crucial Good Friday clash between Ipswich and Bournemouth live on Sky Sports.
Ipswich Town v Bournemouth | Good Friday 17.15 | Sky Sports 1
Trying to solve the Championship promotion puzzle could be the reason I was laid low by a mystery bug last week but we should have a clearer indication on who’ll be playing Premier League football after the Easter weekend.
The Good Friday crunch clash between Ipswich and Bournemouth is one of a number of an intriguing showdowns from the second tier that may prove pivotal come the start of May and I’m hopeful this encounter will give Sky Sports viewers an entertaining spectacle.
Ipswich have lost seven of their 15 games in 2015 but back-to-back 1-0 victories against Bolton and Watford have propelled the Tractor Boys right back into the play-off picture. The Suffolk side produced a perfect tactical display at Vicarage Road last time out as Mick McCarthy sounded a timely reminder that his side won’t go quietly in the race for promotion.
Town boast the joint-best home record in the league (W12-D4-L3) and can also call upon the second-best record when taking on top-half teams (W8-D6-L4). McCarthy must do without highly-rated full back Tyrone Mings but Zeki Fryers should slot straight into the side as they bid to put a nasty dent in the Cherries’ Premier League prospects.
Eddie Howe took the visitors away to Dubai during the international break and the refreshed side will be well aware this clash is their only remaining fixture against a top-10 Championship side. The title favourites boast the best away record in the league (W10-D4-L5) but don’t fare too well against the leading lights, W7-D6-L6 when battling top-half teams.
The match is likely to be a contrast styles. Ipswich prefer to play aggressive, direct football built around a solid spine. The Tractor Boys will look to stop the opposition with the Watford blueprint still fresh in the memory of the hosts.
Bournemouth’s attitude of looking to out-score their opponents with fast-paced attacking football may be tempered on Friday, as it has been when visiting Derby, Norwich, Watford and Middlesbrough – those four fixtures produced just six goals which is well below the average of 3.26 goals-per-game for Bournemouth’s road fixtures.
Interestingly, Under 2.5 Goals has proven a winner in seven of Ipswich’s last nine home fixtures against top-six clubs and in six of Bournemouth’s previous eight against clubs of similar stature; a repeat at Portman Road could well be on the cards.
But with Ipswich netted in 15/19 home games this term and Bournemouth racking up a whopping 43 goals in their 19 away matches (failing to score in just three), I’m going to get Both Teams To Score onside at 5/6 with 888 Sport and also have a speculative play on the 1-1 correct score at 6/1 with William Hill; after all, it marries nicely with the trend of low-scoring games when these two take on the league’s big guns.
Ipswich Town v Bournemouth – Both Teams To Score (5/6 888 Sport)
Ipswich Town v Bournemouth – 1-1 correct score (6/1 William Hill)
Mark gave his views on the best bets from the Championship promotion markets for us last week.
We’d love to hear your views on who you think will be going up and whether you reckon Mark might be on the money. Just let us know in the comments box below.