The Tractor Boys will host Aston Villa at Portman Road in a contest where it means two different things to the sets of clubs. Ipswich find themselves in 12th position of the EFL Championship table with seemingly nothing to play for. Some pundits believe that Ipswich players may already be “on the beach” and that could play into the hands of an Aston Villa side that are hoping to gain momentum heading into the playoffs. On the other hand, Aston Villa need to make sure they keep both eyes on the opposition at hand and not down the road.
Villa have indeed locked up a playoff spot and the game against Ipswich Town will allow the Villans a chance to solidify things moving forward. Including this contest, there are three games left for Aston Villa to play before the nerve-wracking Championship Playoff commences. Steve Bruce and company could definitely use these matches as a spring-board in terms of confidence and figuring out which players are roaring to show what they have to offer.
Villa are not without a few niggling injuries, however. In his pre-match press conference, Steve Bruce has said that Axel Tuanzebe won’t be fit for the Ipswich Contest, and unless Villa make it to the playoff final, may not be seen again on the pitch for Villa this season. Alan Hutton is making progress with his injury and is slated to return to full-time training on Monday. Jonathan Kodjia will also be out for selection after expressing some discomfort in his recovering ankle. Steve Bruce has stated that a minor set-back is one-hundred percent normal, and they’re going to give Kodjia some time as Villa will most definitely needing his services in the weeks to come.
Aston Villa haven’t been decimating on the road in their last three games. They are without a win in their last three away games, and steadier footing is needed. Although, Villa have won eight of their last eleven games played against Ipswich Town.
Aston Villa supporters will be hoping that the last few games of the season stay injury and drama free. One bit of drama that has been escalating is the play of a certain Jack Grealish. Grealish has shown over the past handful of games that he is willing to take the bull by the horns and play to his own strengths. Grealish has been involved in a goal in some capacity in each of his last three appearances for Villa, assisting once and netting two.
Ipswich have a new caretaker manager in Bryan Klug after Mick McCarthy departed the club on April 11th. Klug has publicly said that he is weary about the atmosphere around Ipswich and will be doing all he can to make sure the remaining games for Ipswich have a positive light to them. This will only be the second game for Klug at the helm, but there was promising play reported as Ipswich conceded a late goal to see them lose against Nottingham Forest last time out. There seems to be a positive air surrounding the Tractor Boys at the moment due to the change in manager and overall optimism of the club moving forward.
Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)