MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the Friday night Championship showdown between Ipswich and Birmingham.
Ipswich v Birmingham | Friday 19.45 | Sky Sports 5
Ipswich bounced back from their 5-1 mauling at Reading last Friday night with a performance best described as gritty, gutsy and dogged as Town won 1-0 away at Leeds on Tuesday to cement their place back in the top-five of the Championship.
Mick McCarthy refused to make wholesale changes and stuck to his rigid 4-4-2 with two attacking wingers but the Tractor Boys dug in to deservedly take maximum points. Leeds managed just one shot-on-target in that fixture but it also represented Ipswich’s first clean sheet of the new season.
Back at Portman Road, Ipswich will be fancied to take maximum points and having already beaten Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday on home soil before a 3-2 revere when entertaining table-topping Brighton, are interesting 19/20 shots with Bet365. I’m definitely interested.
Since McCarthy strolled into Suffolk, Town have W39/65 (60%) of their Championship matches as hosts and taken literally, that win % equates to a 4/6 shot. The home side have scored at least twice in their past six Portman Road dates too and with Daryl Murphy back in the picture following injury, they’ll be strong.
Birmingham lost their unbeaten record on Tuesday with a limp 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest. The Blues only managed one effort on target and it was the first occasion they’d failed to net this term. Demarai Gray was surprisingly rested but Gary Rowett should bring him back into the fold and with David Coterill continuing to impress on the opposite flank and on-loan Arsenal wonder Jon Toral earning rave reviews, Birmingham are certainly a threat.
Following his appointment, Rowett has guided the Blues to an even W6-D6-L6 when playing away and they’ve scored at least twice in all three road trips this season. Can I see them scoring on Friday night? With Clayton Donaldson enjoying the responsibility of leading the line and the aforementioned ammo, yes I can see the visitors getting a goal – they’ve only failed to score in five of the 18 away games mentioned.
Both Teams To Score has been a winner in eight of Ipswich’s previous 10 when welcoming Championship opposition so I’ll back the hosts to win at 19/20 (Bet365) but we’ll also have a small play on the Ipswich and BTTS at a hunky 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
Ipswich v Birmingham – Ipswich to win (19/20 Bet365)
Ipswich v Birmingham – Ipswich to win and Both Teams To Score (7/2 Ladbrokes)
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