FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) reveals his favourite fancies from Sunday's televised League One encounter between Accrington and Ipswich.
Accrington v Ipswich | Sunday 20th October 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports
Few (including I) anticipated Ipswich making such a quick adjustment to life in League One but the Blues have strolled four points clear of the pack at the top of the table following an unbeaten 11-game start (W8-D3-L0). The Tractor Boys have accumulated a mightily impressive +16 goal difference and recorded a league-high seven clean sheets.
Paul Lambert’s team are amongst the front-runners when viewing a range of performance data metrics across the opening group of games but it’s Town’s excellent efforts in those defence areas that’s really stood out with Ipswich allowing fewer than five attempts from inside their penalty area on average per-match.
From such a solid base, the Blues have been able to build. All seven opponents from the bottom-half of the League One table have been beaten and with James Norwood transitioning to life in the third-tier with ease, the Portman Road club have made impressive progress with five triumphs from six delivered away from their Suffolk base.
It’s therefore quite an easy selection to make on Sunday by supporting Ipswich at odds-against quotes of 23/20 with Bet365.
Accrington went down 2-1 at Rochdale last weekend – Stanley’s fifth reverse in 12 this term – but there were signs of promise. Dale scored with two of their three efforts on-target and the Reds had 28 shots to the home side’s nine, but just six of those were on target.
Admittedly John Coleman’s charges are getting amongst the goals – only twice firing blanks in 2019/20 – and performance data paints a slightly more positive picture than the current league standings suggest. However, the continued absence of Billy Kee in attack has ensured Accrington probably aren’t getting their just deserts in matches that matter.
Accy’s woes have tended to arrive against the league’s leading lights. Exclude results against the Reds’ bottom-five rivals and the Lancashire outfit have produced just W0-D4-L5, shipping at least two goals on seven occasions in nine. And since promotion to this level they’ve managed just W2-D5-L8 against top-half clubs and just one shutout.
At odds-against, Ipswich are a play. But for the superstitious amongst you, I must mention two two worrying trends that have been aired in the local press this week; the last time Town were victorious off the back of an international break was back in September 2014 (W0-D10-L10) whilst bagging W0-D5-L9 since their last success on TV in December 2015.
Accrington v Ipswich – Ipswich to win (23/20 Bet365)