These are two sides who were heavily backed to succeed this season yet as it stands, only half of that statement is true. Having suffered relegation only just recently Middlesbrough are well on course to bounce back and Gareth Southgate’s men have lost just once and currently sit in 4th position. Ipswich on the other hand haven’t prospered at all under Roy Keane and the Tractor Boys are languishing in 23rd place without a victory to their name.
Many Boro supporters wanted Gareth Southgate to leave the club following last season’s relegation yet he was given more time and at the moment, that looks to have been a wise decision. They may have leaked goals from all angles last season yet so far, the Riverside outfit have been defensively sound and they’ve kept clean sheets in four out of their five league games already. They may have lost their last game to Bristol City, but already this has been Middlesbrough’s best start to a season in five years and they’ve got to be favorites for an immediate return to the top flight.
Ipswich on the other hand have had a dire start to the season. Many of their supporters felt that with Roy Keane at the helm, they’d be automatically challenging for top honors. However, that’s simply not been the case and Keane has struggled to stamp his authority on the Tractor Boys. In fact, the problems seem to stem back even before Keane joined the club, as Ipswich have won just four of their last seventeen games in the Championship. One thing that will undoubtedly help the club is some late activity in the August transfer window. Keane splashed out the best part of £4m to raid former club Sunderland and land Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards – two players who have top flight experience and will add undisputed quality to the struggling side.
On the team news front it’s all looking rosy for Gareth Southgate who could have Brad Jones and Gary O’Neil back in contention. Goalkeeper Jones hasn’t yet featured this season due to an ankle injury although with Boro’s defensive record being so good, Danny Coyne may retain his place between the sticks. As for O’Neil, he is looking to start after recovering from a hernia operation. Roy Keane on the other hand could give three debuts as Grant Leadbitter, Carlos Edwards and Liam Rosenior all look to make a start. However, with Edwards only just returning to the club following international duty, Keane may opt not to include him for this one.
Ipswich may have bolstered their squad recently but we still think Middlesbrough should be favorites for this one. Boro may have lost their last game, but other than that they’ve looked strong and we’ll predict a 1-0 home win here.