Date:Tuesday April 8 2008
Cardiff City travel to Ipswich tomorrow a mere 72 hours after their FA Cup semi-final triumph over Barnsley.
It will be a tough contest for City after a gruelling encounter on a huge Wembley surface, most of the players looked shattered by the end and whilst there is normally no training the day after the match - yesterday will have seen the squad return weary and exhausted.
Add to that the opposition, who are 4 points above Cardiff City and in good position for a play-off spot and the game is not appealing from a Cardiff point of view. Indeed Ipswich Town only remain in the play-off hunt thanks to their superb home form, of course tonights game is a 5 hour coach drive to Portman Road.
Ipswich Town lead the Championship on home form alone, and have lost just once on their own turf this season. The Tractor Boys have a good squad with a good blend of youth and experience. Jason De Vos leads the defence well while forwards Counago, Walters and youngster Danny Haynes are all good strikers at this level.
Former Cardiff City man Alan Lee is likely to feature against his former club. Lee never fulfilled his potential with the Bluebirds but has flourished with Ipswich scoring regularly until hitting a dry spell of late. Former Cardiff City goalkeeper Stephen Bywater is also expected to start for ITFC.
The Tractor Boys have not been in the best of form recently, a goalless draw against QPR was followed by a hugely disappointing defeat to Colchester United. Back-to-back wins over Scunthorpe United and Charlton Athletic had helped their casue but a 4-1 defeat to relegation Barnsley shows the unpredictability and inconsistency of Ipswich Town.
Cardiff City will be tired and bruised for the encounter, but in good form. We have only conceeded 2 goals in the previous 8 games, a testament to the defence and Peter Enckelman.
In the league, back-to-back wins against Bristol City and Southampton were followed by a creditable draw against promotion chasing West Brom. The play-off hopes remain alive but the Bluebirds would have to win virtually all their remaining games and realistically need to beat rivals Ipswich tonight.
Dave Jones may decide to rest several of his first teamers with Aaron Ramsey, Riccy Scimeca, Steve Thompson those most likely to step in.
This is an important game for both sides, Cardiff are in the better form but will be tired and Ipswich's home form is nothing short of intimidating. With Paul Parry likely to be out, Cardiff will again be missing their outlet and top scorer. Vital Cardiff sees this ending in a 1-1 draw, probably not enough to keep the play-off hopes alive.
Date:Tuesday April 8 2008
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