An impressive summer recruitment program that saw David Stockdale, Ivar Ingimarsson, Lee Bowyer, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra arrive at Portman Road reaped instant rewards for ambitious Ipswich.
The Tractor Boys weren’t too fancied in the Championship winner market, priced at 18/1 before they got underway, but made an immediate impression with a 3-0 victory away to Bristol City in which Chopra found the net twice.
While it was a hugely encouraging result at the home of another club with top-six ambitions, Ipswich fans won’t be getting far ahead of themselves after kicking off last season with a 3-1 triumph at promotion favourites Middlesbrough.
The best backed Championship team in action on Saturday, 4/1 joint market leaders in the title betting Leicester, also made a positive start with a 1-0 win away to Coventry, who last lost their opening fixture 11 years ago.
It threatened to be an underwhelming first outing for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s big spenders when Darius Vassell was dismissed within 11 minutes but Carl Baker followed him off before half-time for the hosts.
One of the Foxes’ many new arrivals, right back Lee Peltier, got the decisive goal after the break but their high-profile boss will be most pleased about the clean sheet that his new-look defence kept, given that those were a rarity last term.
It wasn’t a great first Saturday for several other predicted promotion hopefuls though, with Birmingham losing 2-1 at Derby, Nottingham Forest being held 0-0 at home to Barnsley and Reading having to fight from 2-0 down to hold Millwall.