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Posted Fri 26 Apr 13

Ipswich v Blues match preview

Last weekend's 1-0 win against Leeds United saw Lee Clark’s side rise to tenth in the table, just six points behind a play-off place with two games of the season remaining.


Blues' rise up the npower Championship has been as a result of their performances since just before Christmas, particularly away from home.


Blues have won four of their last six away games and their record of seven defeats on the road is bettered only by Brighton and Charlton (with six each).


Under the management of former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, Ipswich have gradually moved away from the relegation zone and are just three points behind Blues in 14th.


When the two sides went head-to-head in the corresponding league fixture at St. Andrew's in November, the Tractor Boys came away from the second city with a narrow 1-0 win, thanks to an eighth minute goal from ex-Blues striker DJ Campbell.


Campbell has subsequently joined Blackburn on loan, but former Blues loanee Guirane N'Daw has been a regular for McCarthy's team in the centre of the park.


"We'll be looking to carry our recent momentum into the Ipswich game," said Clark, speaking ahead of the trip to East Anglia. 


"Since just before Christmas our form has been good and our away form is certainly in the top six. It’s given everyone a boost and a lift but we’ve got to continue it and we’ve got two opportunities to make sure we can go into the summer months with lots of optimism.


"We have got to apply ourselves in the right way. If we can take six points, let's see where it can take us in the table. Let's try and finish as high as we possibly can."


Although Blues are firmly in mid-table Clark says he doesn't believe his players will slacken off in their final two matches.


"It's a 46-game season and you should play every game as if it's the last and most important of your career,” he said. “It's imperative that the players show the right application and I am sure they will.


"This week has been very good in training and they know they are in for a tough game at Portman Road."


Clark is a big admirer of Ipswich manager McCarthy and feels that under his stewardship the Portman Road club will continue to make progress.


"He’s (McCarthy) a top class manager," added Clark. "I think he’s proved it many, many times at various different clubs. I think some of those clubs that made the decision to let him go probably regret it. It's no surprise to me at all that Mick has gone in there and their results have improved and I’ve got no doubt they will invest in the squad and will be looking for a top six finish next season".


For Blues team news, click here.

For Ipswich team news and Mick McCarthy’s comments, click here.

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