Wigan Athletic travel to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town on Tuesday 4th April knowing that anything less than three points will leave the club with a mountain to climb. Despite a positive performance against Newcastle at the weekend, Latics are currently 7 points adrift of safety with 7 games to go. Latics lost 2-1 at Newcastle at the weekend, although Jacobs returned with an goal which will be good news to Wigan fans.
What do the remaining fixtures look like?
Having got the Newcastle game out of the way with minimal damage done, Latics’ hopes of remaining in the Championship rest solely on the next three fixtures. Ipswich away on Tuesday, followed by home games against already relegated Rotherham on Saturday, and the week after at home to mid table Barnsley. Anything less than 7 points will almost certainly relegate Wigan, with some difficult games amongst the last four fixtures. Many Wigan fans will be relieved to see that neither Bristol City nor Blackburn managed to capitalise on the Latics’ latest lost at St James’ Park. Bristol City were easily beaten at mid table Brentford, whilst Blackburn were narrowly beaten 1-0 by high flying Brighton. Both of those teams have tricky fixtures this midweek, with Rovers travelling to Reading and Bristol City travelling north to face the season’s overachievers Preston. Latics will fancy their chances against a weak and out of form Ipswich side, who are not clear of relegation themselves yet.
What’s happening on the field at Wigan?
The performance at Newcastle was one which will give fans the faintest hope of beating the drop. However, as has been too often this season, a decent performance did not bring home any points. Admittedly, St James’ Park is a very difficult place to go in the Championship, so let’s not be too downhearted. However, had Dan Burn put the chance away at 1-1, it could have been another story. One other positive from the defeat was the effectiveness of the half time subs, Gilbey and Colclough. Gilbey played in the assist for Jacobs only five minutes after coming off the bench, and Colclough put in a very industrious display. Worries will continue about the form of Bogle, who started on fire after signing from Grimsby Town. However, he is too often offside and has been prone to missing good chances in his last 6 or seven games.
Question marks remain over why Grigg is not being given a chance. There is no denying that his form had been extremely poor before the end of Joyce’s reign, but you have to remember that early season he was ‘on fire’, pardon the pun.
The defence is looking relatively solid at the moment, so if the forwards can put in the kind of display they did at Newcastle, they will have a chance in the next three fixtures.
What about Ipswich Town?
Ipswich are led by the stalwart Mick McCarthy, who has been their manager since 2012. Despite operating on a modest budget for this level, the Irishman has previously been seen as a hero by Town fans. He led the club to the playoffs in 2014/15, where they were beaten by eventually promoted rivals Norwich. Last season they just missed the playoffs, but it was another respectable campaign by the Tractor Boys. However, following the sales of Tyrone Mings and Daryll Murphy over the past 2 years, the club has been on a downward spiral. This season has garnered only 10 wins in 39 games, and although they have only been beaten 13 times, they sit a precarious 6 points above the drop zone and with bad form. In fact, they’ve not win since they beat Aston Villa on the 11th February, a run of 8 league games without a win, although incredibly 7 of them have been draws. McCarthy’s side are hard to beat, but they do not score many. Midfielder Tom Lawrence, probably their star player, is the only one to score over 10 goals this season, with an impressive 11 goals and 7 assists. Their expected talisman David McGoldrick has really disappointed with only 3 league goals all season, and players such as Luke Varney and Freddie Sears don’t exactly strike fear into the legs of opposition defenders.
On the positive side, the have a solid central defender in Berra who has been capped at international level for Scotland and has Premier League experience with Wolves. McCarthy was furious with their performance in the 1-1 home draw with Birmingham at the weekend, so he will demand a response in this match.
How is Wigan’s record against Ipswich?
Wigan are unbeaten in their last 3 trips to Portman Road, with the last 2 finishing 0-0 and 1-3 respectively. However, Ipswich came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at the DW earlier in the season. A look through the history books shows that his fixture is not usually a happy one for home sides, with only one home win for either side in the past 6 meetings. That was a 2-0 win for Wigan in the year they made the Championship playoffs.
Wigan will fancy their chances of winning this fixture, given that they have won more away games than at home this season, and Ipswich have only won 10 games all season despite sitting 12 points ahead of Wigan at this stage.
All in all, I fancy Wigan to win this fixture. I think they will nick it 2-1 with a goal from Bogle and Jacobs.
What do you think? Let me know your views.