As is the norm in England’s second tier, the race for promotion is expansive and unpredictable.
With the purse available for those lucky enough to a land one of the three Premier League tickets on offer every season fattening by the year, competition is understandably rife, but the volatility of the division makes this the time of year to sound out a long shot capable of turning heads in the second half of the campaign.
At 11/1, Ipswich are said long shot as they ascend the ladder from nowheresville to the big time.
The rocket-propelled Tractor Boys have strung three wins and a draw together from their last four games to move to within three points of the play-off places ahead of the Yuletide schedule, where they prepare for a run of fixtures that could allow even more momentum to be built.
Watford, who haven’t won since the first weekend in October, are their next opponents, before they square off with stuttering trio Bournemouth, Doncaster and Charlton.
Points are what these four games forecast and, should they come, their plump price for promotion will certainly whittle.
At home, the Suffolk side have tailed off in recent weeks, failing to win three of their last four at Portman Road, but only five sides boast stronger records on their own patch than Ipswich.
In Mick McCarthy, they have an experienced rudderman who has recorded multiple promotions whilst in charge of Wolves and Sunderland at this level and he has compiled a squad of equally adept stalwarts who know how to convert a promotion push into success.
In terms of goals scored, only four sides can better them at this stage and only nine have conceded fewer, placing them at the higher end of the division in this respect also.
The foundations they’ve laid in the first half of the season have them poised to kick on in the New Year and could be the unlikely celebrators come May.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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