Promotion chasing Ipswich clash with an ever improving Rotherham side who under Neil Warnock are showing an impressive resilience as they try and escape the relegation zone.
Ipswich sit in 8th position just 1 point outside the play-off places after there 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in midweek and are improving fast after there slow start to the season.
Their home form has also improved as it was dismal at the start of the season but now Hull are the only side to beat them at Portman Road all year.
They have won 3 of there last 5 games and Daryl Murphy, who was the leagues top scorer last season, looks to be hitting top form again with a brace in midweek.
Ipswich’s defence has not been as good as last season with Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith not up to there usual high standards as Berra made Team of the Year last season. But this has improved too with them only conceding 4 goals at home this year, the goals are more spread out too with Brett Piman helping out Murphy who was carrying the team last season.
With a win against Rotherham they may move into the play-offs as they look to break there duck of failing to get into the Premier League. They often fall in the play-offs and the same was true last year when they were beaten by arch-rivals Norwich in the play-off semi-finals.
With an experienced manager Mick McCarthy at the helm it is hard to bet against them making the Top 6 and achieving more beyond this point.
On the flip side, Rotherham have enjoyed a brilliant recovery since Neil Warnock took over and there unlikely escape from the relegation zone is very much a reality now.
At the start of March they sat well adrift of safety but with impressive wins over Brentford and promotion chasing Sheffield Wednesday there is hope they may escape. After scrapping a 1-0 win over title chasing Middlesbrough and coming from 3-0 down to snatch a point at home against Derby they now just sit a point off safety endangering the MK Dons and Fulham.
Leon Best struggled to find his best form under Neil Redfearn but he has been crucial to the turnaround with a brace against Derby and they will look to continue there run against Ipswich today. But only Bolton have a worst away record than Rotherham with the Millers only picking up 3 wins on the road all season and conceding 31 goals.
Also before there away win at Sheffield Wednesday they had lost 8 of there previous 9 away games. But with there defence and attack steadily improving the Warnock revolution is very much on at Rotherham.
Here are THREE things to look out for in today’s game:
1) Can Ipswich continue play-off push?
Ipswich have very much come in under the radar this season and have recovered from a poor start. There has been a lack of top quality sides trying to oust the top 6 which seemed nailed on earlier in the season.
But Ipswich have strung some results together and some of there top players are starting to return to top from with Daryl Murphy back in form. They now just sit one point outside the play-offs and a win today will help there surge in and they should win today.
Portman Road was a fortress last year and at the start of the season they were leaking points and goals there but there home form is hopeful whilst the away record of Rotherham is woeful.
2) Can Rotherham escape?
Rotherham will need an upturn in fortunes if they are going to win at Portman Road today as there away record is awful.
Yet Sheffield Wednesday had one of the best home records in the Championship and Rotherham won there helped by the resilience brought to there defence by new manager Neil Warnock.
Warnock has them playing as an effective cohesive unit with good solid defence and a hard working midfield and the signing of Leon best has bolstered them on the goal front. Ipswich haven’t been the best at the back this season and Rotherham will be looking to exploit that today.
3) Daryl Murphy
The veteran Irish striker was superb for Ipswich last season spearheading there promotion charge as they made the play-offs before losing to arch rivals Norwich. He was comfortably the division’s top scorer with 27 goals and many felt Bamford robbed him of the Championship Player of the Year award.
Ipswich kept hold of all there strikers and added Brett Pitman to there ranks who got promoted with Bournemouth last year and it was Pitman who led in the scoring charts with Sears and Murphy struggling to link up this season.
But Murphy has hit a rich vein of form lately and has 10 goals in all competitions and scored a brace in midweek and will be a nuisance to the Rotherham backline today.
Ipswich and Rotherham fans…What are your predictions for the match? Can the Tractor Boys climb into the play-off places? Will Rotherham’s revival under Neil Warnock continue? Let us know what you think in the comments below!