Bournemouth look the team to beat in the race to secure promotion from the Championship to the Premier League but a Good Friday meeting with play-off hopefuls Ipswich Town could yet throw a spanner in the works.
The Tractor Boys are the undoubted underdogs for victory despite their status as hosts, Ladbrokes are offering 7/4 on Mick McCarthy’s boys giving the Cherries something approaching the blues – here are five reasons why that could happen.
Daryl Murphy’s goalscoring exploits
Bournemouth may be the Championship’s top scorers but when it comes to individual goal tallies, no one comes close to Ipswich’s late-blooming Irishman.
The 32-year-old is enjoying his best season ever at Portman Road, having already scored 23 goals in the second-tier this season and netted when the two teams met earlier this season. Little wonder that Ladbrokes have boosted him from 11/2 to 7/1 to score first on Friday.
Ipswich’s fine form at Portman Road
One of the key components of Ipswich’s success so far this season has been the way in which Mick McCarthy has made the Tractor Boys difficult to beat and this has been most apparent at home.
In the 19 Championship games played at Portman Road this season, the Blues have won 12, drawn four and lost just three times with each of those losses coming by just a single goal.
Bournemouth’s dodgy run on the road
The Cherries may be the flavour of the month in the English second-tier but it’s important to note that their form away from the Goldsands Stadium has not been that impressive of late.
Eddie Howe’s team have taken just seven points from the last 18 available on the road in the Championship and could yet come unstuck in Suffolk.
The previous encounter between the pair
The points have been shared in each of the previous three meetings between the teams, though it’s the most recent of these stalemates that is arguably the most noteworthy.
Ipswich more than held their own against Bournemouth on their visit to Dorset earlier this season, coming back from a goal down on two occasions to draw and pick up a point that few have managed on trips to the Goldsands this term.
Ipswich’s season-saving Watford win
Having ended a run of four games without a win in the league courtesy of a nervy 1-0 victory over a Bolton side with little to play for, Ipswich were undoubted underdogs going into their encounter with then-Championship leaders Watford at Vicarage Road.
But the Tractor Boys put in a dogged and determined performance against the Hornets to win 1-0 courtesy of a late, late goal from Richard Chaplow. Could we be in for similar heroics here?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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