JACK Wright's (@JackWright_BSB) Bet of the Day returns for Tuesday as we head to the League One.
Ipswich vs Wigan | Tuesday 19th April 2022, 19:45
Wigan can seal promotion back to the Championship with a win at Portman Road on Tuesday evening if MK Dons also lose in their game away at Oxford United.
The priority for Leam Richardson will be making sure his team take care of their own business and bounce back from Saturday’s shock defeat at home to League One over-achievers Cambridge United, although the damage of that loss was limited with the third placed Dons also failing to pick up any points later that same day.
The Latics still have their destiny in their own hands, holding a four-point cushion to Rotherham in second, meaning nine points from their final four games will not only guarantee promotion, but that they return to the second tier as champions.
Saturday’s defeat, Wigan’s first in 10 games, was actually their fifth at the DW this term, with their away record the best in the league losing just twice, with one of those coming on the opening weekend of the season at Sunderland, so having suffered just one defeat in the following 19 road trips they will travel to Suffolk in confident mood.
After being teased over the last few weeks that gate-crashing the play-offs was still a possibility, the long-suffering Tractor Boys fans were finally put out of their misery with that defeat at Rotherham over the weekend, Michael Smith's late goal for the Millers meaning it is now mathematically impossible to finish in the top six.
There have been definite shoots of recovery following the appointment of Kieran McKenna, with a recent 11 game unbeaten run, also coincidentally ended by Cambridge, built around a rock solid defence which has seen the concession of just nine goals in the 20 games since the 35-year-old from Northern Ireland took charge.
Just one point from their last three games has meant the Blues won’t be extending their season, with fans bemoaning a lack of creativity but more so the absence of a clinical striker costing their club dearly – Sone Aluko 3 goals in 30 appearances, James Norwood 5 in 20 and Joe Pigott, signed after hitting 20 for MK Dons last campaign, with just 2 in 21 for Town, have all been given opportunities but ultimately disappointed.
Macauley Bonne is the club's top scorer with 12 strikes in 40 games but hasn’t hit the back of the net in any of his last 16 outings after a blistering start which saw him bag 11 in 15 – it will be interesting to see which of the forward options gets the nod here in search of that winning formula.
So, in a break from my normal stat based strategy, today’s Bet of the Day is going more on my expectation of how this game will unfold.
The numbers show less than half (10) of the 21 games played at Portman Road so far this season have seen both teams score and it’s a marginally better 12 in 20 (60%) from Wigan’s away games.
However, I feel with nothing now to play for there is a chance the handbrake may be released a little for the home side, with McKenna keen to test his charges against the best the division has to offer this term and work out who he will want to keep for next year's tilt at promotion – when I am sure they will be once again well backed.
For Wigan, there is no doubt they will be going all out for the win, but as shown against Cambridge are prone to leaving the back door open with their front foot philosophy – highlighted by keeping just three clean sheets in their last 17 away games in the league and FA Cup.
The reverse fixture in December ended 1-1 and made it nine meetings between the two sides unbeaten for Ipswich and this looks set to be another close encounter so the even money available for both to find the net looks a price well worth taking on for me.
Ipswich vs Wigan – Both Teams To Score (1/1 William Hill)