Ipswich Town vs Huddersfield Town: Preview and Prediction

Ipswich Town can seal automatic promotion to the Premier League when they host Huddersfield Town at Portman Road on Saturday.

The 2023/24 EFL Championship season has been engrossing like most campaigns before it. The tradition of the second division producing intriguing stories until the final matchday continues. The battle for the second spot in the standings and the relegation dogfight will end on Saturday. And two stakeholders in each will face off at Portman Road as Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town lock horns.

The 2023/24 season has been the crowning of Kieran McKenna in the managerial world, even though Ipswich Town will not win a trophy. The 37-year-old has proven his credentials in the coaching sphere after many questioned him during his time as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant. He has branched out exceptionally well, with a second successive promotion on the cards for Ipswich. The Tractor Boys now need only one point to return to the Premier League.

As for Huddersfield Town, they have been in and around the drop zone for most of the 2023/24 season. However, a run of only one win in 11 EFL Championship outings has left the Terriers second from bottom on the table, with 21st-placed Plymouth Argyle three points ahead with a considerable advantage on goal difference. So, only a miracle can save Andre Breitenreiter’s men from relegation.

The reverse fixture saw Ipswich Town come from a goal down to hold Huddersfield Town to a 1-1 draw, with Brandon Williams scoring the equaliser. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Ipswich Town

Kieran McKenna has a new injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s final EFL Championship regular season fixture. Against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, the Ipswich Town manager might be bereft of the services of three first-team players.

Wes Burns sustained a calf injury earlier this week against Coventry City and might not be fit enough to take on Huddersfield Town. In addition, Janoi Donacien and Brandon Williams remain on the sidelines for the home team.

Vaclav Hladky is an automatic pick between the sticks, with Ipswich Town lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Huddersfield Town. The backline should feature Axel Tuanzebe, George Edmundson, Cameron Burgess, and Leif Davis.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Massimo Luongo and captain Sam Morsy in the double pivot. Jeremy Sarmiento should reprise the no. 10 role in the absence of Burns, with Omari Hutchinson and Nathan Broadhead being the two wide attackers. Finally, Kieffer Moore will lead the line for Ipswich on Saturday.

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

Huddersfield Town

Like his counterpart in the Ipswich Town dugout, Andre Breitenreiter has a myriad of fitness issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Portman Road. The Huddersfield Town manager will be without five first-team players on Saturday.

The absence of Tom Lees (leg), Radinio Balker (hamstring), Yuta Nakayama (knee), and Josh Ruffels (groin) leaves the defensive unit short of options. Jonathan Hogg (shoulder) is the only other absentee for the away side.

Huddersfield Town will line up in a 3-5-2 formation against Ipswich Town on Saturday, with Lee Nicholls taking his spot between the sticks. The central defensive trifecta should feature Matty Pearson, Michal Helik, and Brodie Spencer. Ollie Turton and Sorba Thomas should be the two wing-backs.

The duo will provide the width in the final third while supporting the three centre-backs during the defensive phases. As for the midfield unit, Jack Rudoni will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Alex Matos and David Kasumu providing the forward thrust from the central areas. Finally, Rhys Healey and Danny Ward will be the two strikers for Huddersfield.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Nicholls; Spencer, Helik, Pearson; Turton, Matos, Rudoni, Kasumu, Thomas; Healey, Ward

Key Stats

  • Ipswich Town have won just one of their last seven league games against Huddersfield Town (D3 L3), a 1-0 victory in February 2016 under Mick McCarthy.
  • Saturday’s game will be Huddersfield Town’s first league visit to Ipswich since October 2016, when they won 1-0 with a goal from Chris Schindler.
  • Excluding 2019/20, which ended early, Ipswich Town have not lost their final league game of the season since May 2017 against Nottingham Forest, and they are unbeaten in five games since on MD46 (W3 D2).
  • Huddersfield Town have won their final league game of the season in the last two seasons, beating Bristol City in 2021/22 and Reading in 2022/23. The Terriers have not ended a campaign with a win in three consecutive years since between 1991/92 and 1993/94.
  • Ipswich Town have scored 57 home league goals this season, the most by a side in a Championship campaign since Reading scored 58 in 2005/06. No second-tier team has scored 60+ goals in the league since Manchester City in 2001/02 (63).

Player to Watch

Leif Davis

Embed from Getty Images

Kieran McKenna does not have a prolific attacker in his squad, with the midfielders and forwards sharing the goalscoring burden throughout the 2023/24 season. However, Leif Davis has been the difference maker with his exceptional creative abilities from the left flank.

The 24-year-old has an eye-watering 21 assists in the EFL Championship thus far this season. So, McKenna will bank on his star left-back to pull the strings from the left wing and set up the chances for his teammates. If he rises to the occasion, Ipswich Town should be home and dry.


Ipswich Town 2-1 Huddersfield Town

While Ipswich Town have their fate in their hands, they will know that any slip-ups against Huddersfield Town can hand Leeds United an opening to snatch the second spot in the EFL Championship standings. And with automatic promotion on the line, the nerves will show in some stages of Saturday’s fixture at Portman Road.

On the other hand, Huddersfield Town will know that anything other than three points will likely send them to League One. So, the Terriers will take the game to their hosts, leaving everything on the pitch.

The clash between second and second from bottom should be an engrossing affair. However, the gulf in quality and momentum will prove telling. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Kieran McKenna and his charges, ending an incredible campaign by clinching second spot on the EFL Championship table.

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