Blackburn Rovers vs Ipswich Town: Preview and Prediction

Ipswich Town will be vying for the top spot in the EFL Championship as they take on Blackburn Rovers away from home.

Starting with Blackburn Rovers ahead of the game with Ipswich Town, much has been said about their manager John Eustace as he was sacked by Birmingham City. Fans of that club claimed the departure was premature and unjust, although his performances for Blackburn Rovers have since proven the decision of the Birmingham club right.

Eustace has yet to win in his nine games since taking charge of Blackburn and now faces a pivotal few weeks to determine his future at the club. With only 42 points on board, safety is far from guaranteed for Rovers since they are only about three points off Huddersfield Town, who are in the 22nd position on the table.

Should Rovers continue on their path of dismal results, it could well mean another sacking for Eustace and deepen the club’s problems. The club management would surely not want a demotion. But looking at their current plight, Blackburn are expected to take part in the end-of-the-season relegation scrap.

Ipswich Town are on the cusp of breaking into the top two and the automatic promotion places, as the Tractor Boys have made the race for the Championship title a proper three-way battle. For long periods, Leicester City appeared to have run away with the lead-up top, leaving Kieran McKenna’s side and Leeds United to fight for that coveted second spot.

Instead, the Foxes have suffered from a terrible loss in form, which has put their lead into jeopardy. Leeds United have since overtaken them with a slender goal difference margin. With the end of the season run-in fast approaching, these three sides are ready to bring on a big battle, with only two gaining automatic slots to play in the Premier League next season.

Hence, McKenna will not want a drop in performance and will wish no excuses from his players after reaching such a promising position. In their path to go top of the league ahead of the weekend stand Blackburn Rovers, with the general expectation leaning towards a win for the Tractor Boys.

Team News & Tactics

Blackburn Rovers

The international break has come at a cost for Blackburn Rovers, with Arnor Sigurdsson at the receiving end of a red-card-worthy challenge. The winger was subsequently ruled out of Iceland’s game against Ukraine and will now miss a few weeks of action.

John Buckley also picked up a fresh problem while in training, with the duo likely to remain sidelined for the Ipswich game. They join Hayden Carter, John Fleck, Joe Rankin-Costello, and Harry Leonard, who are all part of the treatment room.

On loan Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Yasin Ayari might replace Buckley in the centre of midfield and partner Sondre Tronstad in those positions. Sammie Szmodics will likely take the attacking midfield role, with Ryan Hedges and Tyrhys Dolan on the wings. Up front, Sam Gallagher will lead the line for Blackburn Rovers.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pears; Brittain, Hyam, Wharton, Pickering; Ayari Tronstad; Hedges, Szmodics, Dolan; Gallagher

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town also had their share of problems stemming from the international break, with winger Wes Burns suffering an injury with Wales. He subsequently pulled out of the second clash, and there are no updates on how long he will remain sidelined.

Kieran McKenna mentioned that the injury looked severe, although more news might only come out once the club does its assessment of the attacker. George Hirst also remains out and has been since the end of December with a torn muscle.

McKenna will be hopeful about Conor Chaplin’s fitness after he missed the game against Sheffield Wednesday with a strain. Meanwhile, Lewis Travis will be ineligible to face his parent club, Blackburn Rovers.

Ahead of the Blackburn clash, McKenna will once again rely on the form of his attackers like Omari Hutchinson, Kieffer Moore to provide the goals. Ali Al-Hamadi and Nathan Broadhead will provide support from a wide range of areas, as McKenna will once again hope for a goal fest.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Tuanzebe, Burgess, Woolfenden, Davis; Morsy, Luongo; Hamadi, Hutchinson, Broadhead; Moore

Key Stats

  • Blackburn Rovers have drawn six of their last seven matches in the Championship.
  • John Eustace has yet to win any of his nine games in charge of Blackburn Rovers.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in nine of Ipswich Town’s last 10 games in the Championship.
  • Ipswich Town have won seven of their last eight matches in the Championship.
  • Ipswich Town can go top of the Championship table on Friday with a win over Blackburn.

Player to Watch

Omari Hutchinson

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The former Arsenal academy star and the current Chelsea loanee has put himself in the frame to help Ipswich Town fight for the Championship title. The attacking midfielder made a significant impact against Sheffield Wednesday with two goals and an assist. And Kieran McKenna is likely to demand consistency from him.

Hutchinson will have to think long and hard about his future after this season, and he will want to stand a chance to play regular Premier League football next season. Hence, while he has the cushion of returning to Chelsea irrespective of how the season ends for Ipswich Town, the attacker would want a stellar few weeks under his belt to make a statement.


Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Ipswich Town

Kieran McKenna’s side comes into this clash on the back of some impressive results and will want continuity in their momentum ahead of a few crucial weeks that will determine their future for next season. Hence, while Ipswich Town are under tremendous pressure, they can deliver outstanding results.

Meanwhile, the hosts could be in better form, and their manager, in particular, has come under massive pressure to deliver a win. A game against an in-form Ipswich Town does not seem like optimal timing for John Eustace, which could see him not win a tenth game since becoming Rovers manager, while McKenna will likely relish in another three points and taking the top spot in the Championship, albeit for a day or two.

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