Preview: Ipswich Town vs Exeter City
City’s tough run-in is proving to be the case, aided by an injury crisis that saw Gary Caldwell only able to name six subs and no recognised striker in the starting line-up in a gallant 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last week, and the final long trip of the season is a successive Saturday at one of the three clubs now vying for automatic promotion. Much will depend on how many, if any, of City’s walking wounded recover in time to make the trip, otherwise with some of City’s young loanees now seeing their seasons over there may be scope to at least fill the bench. One player who will be missing is Rekeem Harper, ineligible to face his parent club.
With just four defeats all season, Ipswich are within touching distance of a return to the second tier, needing only to match Sheffield Wednesday’s result on Saturday to secure promotion – Kieran McKenna’s side, however, will be focussed on more than that though as they seek to deny City’s near neighbours the title. Since a surprise 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Oxford in January, the Tractor Boys have gone on a 17-match unbeaten run in the league – recent form has been devastating with twelve wins and a draw in their last thirteen (scoring 37 goals in the process) culminating in a 3-0 demolition of Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday night. Conor Chaplin has been the main scorer with 24 in the league (27 in total) but Freddie Ladapo has provided ample support with 16 league goals. One player who may feature from the bench is Kyle Edwards, who has played 30 matches in the league but started just three, his pace and trickery make him an ideal sub against tired opposition and he’ll be keen to remind City supporters of the flashes he showed on loan in 17/18.
The Sky cameras were present for the reverse fixture, which Ipswich won at a canter 2-0 with goals from Ladapo and Harness. While there have been a number of cup encounters between the sides over the years (City’s last visit to Portman Road a 5-1 League Cup thrashing in 1998) the relative difference in stature of the clubs means the last league match in Suffolk was in Division 3 (South) in 1956 where an Ipswich side that would win the Football League seven years later easily triumphed 3-0. The league head to head advantage is with Ipswich, nine wins to City’s six, with eight matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistant Referees: Declan O’Shea and Conor Farrell
Fourth Official : Michael Webb
The last time Scott Oldham refereed an Exeter game was in December when City lost 2-0 away at Bolton.
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