With Huddersfield looking for three wins in four and back-to-back home wins, it doesn’t seem there is a better time to play Ipswich Town who have lost their last three games in a row however football is rarely ever that simple.
In the midweek round of games, Huddersfield picked up a solitary point against MK Dons which was particularly impressive considering they were down to 10 men for the vast majority of the second half when Philip Billing was sent off, but a positive for the Terriers was that Nahki Wells scored his 14th league goal of the season.
Ipswich, on the other hand, were on the end of an unlucky defeat against table-topping Hull City when Mohamed Diame scored early in the second half to confine Ipswich to their 10th defeat of the season.
With Ipswich playing Bolton, Rotherham and Blackburn in March as well as crunch ties against Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City. Mick McCarthy will be looking to stop the rot and get a result which they can build on for a late playoff push.
Resurgent Huddersfield, on the other hand, will be looking to pick up ten out of twelve points in their last four matches and reach the top half for the first time this season which would be an impressive feat for David Wagner’s side
Here’s THREE things to look out for in the Huddersfield Town v Ipswich Town:
1) The Atmosphere
As this is the first match since the announcement of the new season ticket pricing, I expect that the atmosphere will be more boisterous and lively than ever.
The shift to the south stand with the aid of North Stand Loyal has seen the South Stand become a mini away end for Huddersfield’s singing section and the optimism and energy that is swirling around the John Smith Stadium may be reflected on the pitch.
David Wagner stated in his pre-match presser the importance of the home fans and the much improved atmosphere has aided Huddersfield recently.
The hardcore following of Ipswich will also contribute heavily to the atmosphere in their support of the East Anglia club and the combination of both in the South Stand will provide a wall of noise.
Also with Ipswich needing a win to resuscitate their play-off hopes and Huddersfield looking to push themselves up the table for the highest Championship finish since gaining promotion, the atmosphere should reflect the tempo and importance of the game.
2) Wells vs Murphy
One of the most interesting battles on paper even though they will be at opposite ends of the pitch will be that of Nahki Wells and Daryl Murphy.
Both strikers are renowned in the Football League for their goalscoring capabilities although their styles differ greatly.
Wells looks to use his pace and movement to stretch defences and create opportunities for himself and his teammates. He also has the ability to be a poacher in the box but also create goals and opportunities from outside the box from absolutely nothing.
Daryl Murphy, on the other hand, is different as he uses his physique and strength to out muscle and bully the opposition whilst being clinical in the air and he is renowned as a fox in the box.
Interestingly, the form of the two strikers seemed to have switched as Murphy has struggled having 7 goals in 23 appearances and he will need to find the rich vein of form that got him 27 goals in 45 appearances for Ipswich last season if Ipswich are to fight their way back into the promotion picture.
Nahki Wells on the other hand has had his best season since bridging the gap from League 1 to the Championship and with 10 goals in 17 appearances under David Wagner, the charismatic German is certainly getting the best out of the Bermudan striker.
The determining factor in this game may well be which of these potent strikers has the better game and can find the net if given the opportunity.
3) A different proposition to the reverse fixture
The return fixture at Portman Road was a very nervy tie for both sides which was largely event-less until James Vaughan was sent off in injury time for throwing the ball in the face of Jonas Knudsen after a tedious encounter.
It was a game of very few chances and neither team felt comfortable bringing the ball down and playing it on the floor.
The first fixture was previous to Wagner’s arrival and since his arrival, Huddersfield have scored in 15 consecutive games, it will be a different proposition to the reverse fixture.
Huddersfield will look to impose their game on Ipswich and stamp their authority on the game, the loss of Billing will hurt Huddersfield but a midfield of Hogg and Whitehead will be combative and it will allow the bank of three attackers to push forward with freedom.
It will be interesting to see how Mick McCarthy’s side attempts to deal with Huddersfield’s capabilities. He may try what Kenny Jackett did the week before and sit back and try to soak the pressure and hit Huddersfield on the counter attack or he may attempt to go on the offensive and take the game to Huddersfield. Either way, it’ll be an intriguing tactical battle.
Huddersfield and Ipswich fans…What are your predictions for the match? Will the Terriers make it three wins from four? Can Ipswich get their season back on track? Let us know what you think in the comments below!