Preview: Watford v Ipswich Town
Mick McCarthy's Ipswich are a point off the playoffs and could find themselves sixth at the end of this game.
The Hornets will need to win if they are to keep the flicker of playoffs hope some fans still have alive. Watford are eight points from sixth with two games in hand.
Both teams are in good form coming into the game, despite injuries to key players on both sides.
Ipswich have won four of their last six, drawing one and losing one. They are in particularly good form on the road, having won three of their last four away games. Their only defeat away from home since early last month was 2-0 at Blackburn on April 5.
Though Watford are unbeaten in five, they have only won two of these games. At home the Hornets are strong - they have recorded seven victories in the last nine outings, and their last defeat at Vicarage Road came against Reading in early January.
Beppe Sannino, speaking to the Watford Observer:
"My players must have the motivation of thinking about how many goals we have conceded late in matches, although we are still in contention. This is a motivation.
"For me, I am not the kind of person who gives players the reasons for motivation and by talking. I would like them to watch the situation and feel the situation.
"One of the motivations should be that our stadium will be full. This [the supporters] is motivation.'
Sannino, speaking to the official site:
"Mick McCarthy was very kind to me on my debut in English football.
"Ipswich have good qualities, the table tells me this and they`re on a good run.
"The table is saying we are still in contention for the Play-Offs, so while we have this chance we will fight and approach the game in the right manner.
"All matches are difficult - our target is to get the maximum from the next five games. Mathematics give us the possibility, we must try to do it.
"Football is a sport made by situations. When we concede last minute, every goal we conceded there is a reason behind it. We must remember this when we look at the situation.
"When you are winning with one minute left the match should be finished, you have to be able to end the match. I would like more talking and less running in these situations."
Ipswich Town's Jonny Russell, speaking to itfc.co.uk:
"It`s a huge game and we`re not thinking about Monday`s game until we`ve got this one out of the way.
"We`re all excited for the game and we know that Watford will represent a tough test. They are a good club with good support and it will be another tough battle.
"I`ve heard we`ve sold out our allocation and the fans have been brilliant ever since I arrived here. They`ve put in the miles and hopefully we can repay them with another three points.
"On a personal level, it will be nice to play Watford as I haven`t faced them since beating them with Palace in the Play-Off final.
"That was a great day and it would be fantastic to have a repeat of that with Ipswich tomorrow.'
Watford Team News:
Marco Cassetti remains on the sidelines as he serves the second game of his two match ban following ten bookings this season.
Cristian Battocchio and Lloyd Doyley may return following knee and ankle injuries respectively, however Sannino may choose to keep them fresh for the QPR game, which comes just two days from now.
On loan striker Park Chu-Young appears unlikely to feature for the Hornets again this season, as he is in Seoul receiving treatment for cellulitis on his toe. He is trying to recover in time for selection for the South Korean World Cup squad, and so a return before the season is over is not on the cards.
Pacey winger Ikechi Anya is also a doubt following an Achilles injury picked up against Millwall last Saturday.
Player to watch: Almen Abdi
The popular central midfielder has started the last two games, his first starts since August 2013 following a complex foot injury.
In the two games he has started, Abdi has scored two crucial goals, and set up another.
Abdi undoubtedly affects games he plays in, and his talent has been sorely missed this season. I fully expect Abdi to put his stamp on the game if he starts.
Ipswich Town Team News:
Leading goalscorer David McGodrick has been ruled out for the rest of the season following surgery. He suffered knee ligament damage in February, but surgery on his cartilage has made it clear that McGodrick will not feature again for Town before the end of the season.
Winger Paul Anderson and striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake are both doubtful with hamstring injuries.
Player to watch: Jonny Williams
From our 'Opposing View' article:
Daryl Murphy is key to us, but the real threat is Jonny Williams. He`ll be playing just behind Murphy, and is a tricky player - teams can`t figure out how to mark him.
He wins free kicks in threatening positions, creates most of our chances and adds that touch of class sides looking at the play-offs need.
When Pulis allowed him to stay for the rest of the season it was a huge relief, losing him would have meant our season would most likely be over by now.
I`ve got to go with my heart on the prediction. We are strong at home, and though Ipswich present a really tough challenge, especially with the playoffs firmly in sight for Town, I think we should be able to win tomorrow. With Abdi back in the side and hopefully firing on all cylinders, we should hopefully dictate the game a little more than in recent weeks.
Conceding late on is our Achilles heel however so unless we are winning by a couple of goals there is always a chance we will throw away a lead in the dying minutes.
I`m going to go with a 3-2 Watford win with an extremely nervy finish. Both team will be going for the win, but I feel like we`re due a result after throwing away so many points recently.
If we do win, especially if it`s a tight victory, we should grow in confidence a lot and the result would be very important for us going into the final set of games.
Watford 3-2 Ipswich Town
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