Football – England – Championship
Tuesday 6th November 2012 – Kickoff: 2000hrs
Third placed Crystal Palace could move into top position in the Championship if they win tonight against opponents Ipswich Town who recorded their first away win in 12 matches at the weekend at Birmingham City.
The Eagles have been in impressive form following their season start with three straight defeats, and they are now 11 matches undefeated with notable wins over Cardiff City, Wolves, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers included in this run.
They have a strong squad which have seen a few changes at the helm recently with Dougie Freedman moving to Bolton, then the caretaker-manager partnership of Lennie Lawrence/Curtis Fleming disbanded with Lawrence following Freedman to The Reebok; now they have former QPR and Blackpool boss Ian Holloway in charge and his experience at Blackpool and achieving promotion into the top flight was probably one of the main reasons he was approached and I believe he can achieve this goal again with Crystal Palace.
Palace’s home record now stands at 4-2-1 16/12, and with striker Glenn Murray (10 goals in 11 matches) including a brace against Blackburn on Saturday, they have every chance of chalking up a fifth home win on Tuesday night. In addition, players like Wilfred Zaha (4 goals, 1 assist), Owen Garvan (2 goals, 4 assists) along with Dikgacoi and Delaney (3 goals apiece) are all capable of getting on the scoresheet, and don’t forget new additions such as Aaron Wilbraham and Jermaine Easter on the bench!
Since dropping out of the top flight in 2002, Ipswich Town have been nothing short of disappointing in their bid to return to Premiership football. Managers have come and gone since the glory days of George Burley, and they’ve often found themselves in the wrong half of the Championship, but right now they sit bottom of the division with just 10 points to their name.
Manager Paul Jewell joined a long list of failed managers at this club to be replaced by Mick McCarthy who will be hoping that some of his exploits whilst at Wolves at this level will rub off on his squad at Portman Road this term.
McCarthy made a good start with an away win at Birmingham City but, as the saying goes, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and Birmingham have their own problems internally at the moment and I wasn’t surprised at the result. However, they now face a much tougher task at Crystal Palace and being realistic, this assignment should be too much for them right now.
Eleven matches without a win before the Birmingham trip, The Tractor Boys’ form has been dismal and their overall away form stands at 2-2-3 5/12, the main problem being their lack of goals on the road, and indeed at home for that matter.
Forward DJ Campbell (3 goals) ironically secured the points at St Andrews, but he can’t be relied upon to score on a regular basis, and McCarthy will be looking to the fitness of Michael Chopra to get them out of their current mess.
Holloway and his attacking philosophy should go down well with the fans at Selhurst Park and he has plenty of attacking options open to him. McCarthy’s Ipswich did well on Saturday but they face a team third in the Championship tonight and this severe test comes too early for them I feel; I’ll take a Palace straight win perhaps 2-1.
Pick: Crystal Palace straight win @ 2.05 Bet Victor looks value all day long