Saturday 13th January 2024
(2nd) Ipswich Town v Sunderland (6th)
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are sold out.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via Sky Sports.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
Can we disregard last week's disappointing derby performance as a one off because of all that came with the occasion? Part of me wants to do this, and part of me hopes the Lads use it as motivation this evening in front of the cameras.
It would be fair to say that a lot of the players on show last week will feel they did not do themselves justice - despite taking on top-half Premier League opposition - so an away fixture against one of the sides currently occupying an automatic promotion place live on the box could provide the ideal opportunity to put a few things right.
Following the Coventry debacle in Michael Beale’s first fixture we are unbeaten in the Championship, where two of those fixtures were on the road. The performance levels have been up and down, but it can’t be knocked if we avoid defeat on off-days.
The victory at Hull and to some extent the draw at Rotherham, also provide hope that we might be turning the tide in terms of our away form. Ever since those heady days of September when we swatted aside QPR, Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday while scoring three goals in all three games on the road, we have only recorded one victory in the eight games away from the Stadium of Light since.
It’s fair to say that Ipswich are ahead of schedule in what was likely planned when Kieran McKenna was appointed just over two years ago in December 2021.
After a bumpy ride during the second half of the season in 2021-22 where they went on to finish 11th, the Tractor Boys were then pipped to the League One title last season by Plymouth Argyle despite ending the season on 98 points.
Many predictions at the start of this season suggested McKenna’s side would fair well in the second tier, but few would have predicted just how well. With just over half the season behind us, today’s visitors sit ten points behind runaway leaders Leicester City, with a three point gap to Southampton in 3rd and a seven point gap to 4th-placed Leeds United - all of which plied their trade in the Premier League last season.
Their home doesn’t make pleasant reading as we head to East Anglia, with our hosts losing only once all season on home soil, which came all the way back on the 26th August in a 4-3 epic against Leeds United. Hope that we can take a result from this evening's fixture may come from the fact that their last three at Portman Road have ended in draws.
The bookies have the hosts as favourites to collect maximum points at 21/20, with the Lads priced at 12/5, and the draw is 23/10.
Head to head... at Portman Road
- Sunderland wins: 6
- Draws: 6
- Ipswich Town wins: 16
- Sunderland goals: 26
- Ipswich Town goals: 57
Last time we met... at Portman Road
Saturday 18th December 2021
Ipswich Town 1-1 Sunderland
[Norwood 45’ - Broadhead 50’]
Sunderland: Hoffman, Wright, Flanagan, Doyle, Dajaku (D. Hume), Winchester, Neil, Pritchard (Embleton), Broadhead (O’Brien), Stewart Substitutes not used: Patterson, Younger, Alves, Kimpioka
Ipswich Town: Walton, Donacien, Penney (Vincent-Young), Morsy, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Evans, Bonne, Norwood (Chaplin), Aluko Substitutes not used: Hladky, Burgess, Carroll, Fraser, Pigott
Played for both...
The Bristol-born striker started his career at Bristol Rovers as a 19-year-old and would score 79 goals in 207 appearances before moving on to Huddersfield Town in 1995, signing for a club record £1.2m. Impressive performances in West Yorkshire led to a £2.5 million bid from former Sunderland full-back George Burley who was in charge at Ipswich Town in February 2000.
In 2000-01 Marcus Stewart would fire the Tractor Boys to a 5th place finish in the Premier League, which meant qualification for what was then the UEFA cup. A year later, Burley’s side were relegated and he signed for the Lads for a reported £3.25m, going on to score 53 goals in 119 games between 2002 and 2005.
After spells at Bristol City, Preston North End, Yeovil Town and Exeter City he hung up his boots in the summer of 2011 immediately moving into a first team coach roles at Exeter City and Bristol Rovers.
Last September Marcus Stewart was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and was the guest of honour at the Stadium of Light today as two met on the opening day of the season.