Match Odds: Home Win – 21/20 Draw – 5/2 Away Win – 3/1
Ipswich form: WWLDLWLLDW
Reading form: LWLWWDWLDW
The home side made it two wins on the spin last time out with a good away display at Craven Cottage to keep up their chase for the promotion places. Although many consider the battle for the top two spots a three horse race, Ipswich will know that should they maintain current form and performance levels of recent weeks, they will be able to punish any slip ups from the top 3. Top scorer Daryl Murphy has been backed by club legend Ray Crawford to hit 30 goals this year for the first time in 34 years for the Suffolk side. Big Mick’s side host Reading and will see the visitors slip up in the week as a real chance to plunge Reading further towards the relegation trap door, however McCarthy has been a firm believer all season that his side are not guaranteed three points against anyone and the ‘bonkers’ nature of the division can throw up obscure results which he will reiterate to his side before the weekend.
Following a fantastic victory last weekend against high flying Derby County in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the optimism around the Madejski was somewhat dampened with a dismal performance against struggling Wigan which saw the Royals go down at home for only the third time under new boss Steve Clarke. Much has been made of the Royals inability to profit on good performances and turn this into a real good run of form. Steve Clarke pulled many punches following the home defeat, stating that he was embarrassed to be the coach of that side who produced the performance at the Madejski. Much improvement will be needing for the trip to Portman Road, however the Royals do have a tendency to be able to produce when they’re not expected to be able to deliver. It’ll be interesting to see the response to tuesday’s display.
On paper, you’d have to be a very brave man to suggest that anyone other than the home side will pick up the points. Ipswich seemed to have develop a real sturdiness and an ability to be able to grind out performances when things are tough, but they may see this clash as a chance to really express their abilities and stretch the muscles of the side. Reading on the other hand will come into the game knowing they need to respond following the shambolic display earlier in the week and their ability to perform against the odds seem to have been evident in recent weeks. Although you shouldn’t write the vistors off completely, they may well find the challenge and Ipswich just too good.