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Stoke v Ipswich Championship Preview
Ipswich travel to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to play Stoke in a Championship, match day 21 fixture. The Potters are unbeaten in their last 7 Championship games and have lost just once in their last 11 games. Their last defeat was a 1-0 loss to Birmingham City at home in October. Gary Rowett will be looking at ways to convert more of the draws into wins if Stoke are to play any part in the promotion race, their form matches their position in the league, which is comfortably mid table.Ipswich on the other hand are not in great form at all, having won just once in their last 18 games. With that kind of record it is not a surprise that they are rooted to the bottom of the Championship table and are currently 7 points from safety. Paul Lambert hasn't been able to turn things around at Ipswich after taking over from the sacked Paul Hurst and will be looking to arrest a 3 game losing streak.Stoke who were relegated from the Premier League last season are looking to bounce back at the first attempt and will be looking to win this match and bring some pride back to the club after some unsavoury scenes at an away under 21 fixture in midweek. The Stoke away fans went on the rampage after the under 21 side were beaten 4-0 in the EFL trophy on Tuesday evening.Ipswich manager Paul Lambert returns to the club he left last season after they were relegated from the Premier League and whilst he may get a good reception, Stoke fans will be hoping he doesn't come away with any points come Saturday afternoon's final whistle.Stokes head to head record against Ipswich (Stoke at home) reads W16 D12 L8 which further backs up Stoke being clear favourites in this match. The Championship is a very tough league to get out of as other ex Premier League teams have found out. I personally think this league gets tougher and tougher each season and in recent years we have seen relegated Premier League clubs drop straight through and down to League One. Stoke need to win this to keep on the coat tails of those clubs above them and this is a fixture they must win if promotion back to the top flight is to be achieved at the first attempt.Team NewsIpswich will be relying on ex West Ham player Freddie Sears to provide the goals but they will be without midfielder Cole Skuse (knee).Stoke have Oghenekaro Etebo suspended and in addition the Dutch duo of Erik Peters and Ibrahim Afellay are unlikely to play. In form Tom Ince will be one to look out for after his comeback from an hernia operation. England goalkeeper Jack Butland will be between the sticks.VerdictThe form book would suggest we look no further than a Stoke win in this match and I am not going to disagree. Ipswich have not won in their last 5 visits to Stoke and their best hope seems to be getting a draw. I think Stoke will have too much in the locker for Ipswich and predict a 2-0 win for Stoke.
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