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Tractor Boys could send unbalanced Owls flying

Wednesday are missing the class of Forestieri

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Wednesday

Mick McCarthy has not always been universally popular among Ipswich supporters during his spell of more than five years at the helm. But he has kept the Tractor Boys in the top half of the Sky Bet Championship this season and can steer them to victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road.

Only three Championship managers have been with their clubs for more than two years and Wednesday's Carlos Carvalhal is one of those.

Carvalhal led the Owls to the playoffs in his first two seasons at Hillsborough but supporter expectations have risen and there is a growing sense of frustration because of Wednesday's inconsistencies.

A lot of investment has gone into enhancing the squad but the balance isn't quite right.

Wednesday are top-heavy up front with Lucas Joao, Jordan Rhodes, Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher and Atdhe Nuhiu competing for two places.

Hooper has been the pick of the bunch this season, scoring seven goals, but hasn't found the net in his last six matches.

The rest of Wednesday's strikers have struggled and Carvalhal is missing the class and unpredictability of Fernando Forestieri, who is sidelined for the rest of the year with a knee injury.

Winger Adam Reach has been their main goal threat in recent weeks – scoring in three of the last four matches, including victories at home to Millwall (2-1) and away to Aston Villa (2-1) which had revived the Owls' flagging playoff push.

But it proved to be another false dawn as Wednesday failed to register a shot on target during Saturday's drab 0-0 draw at home to Bristol City.

While the Owls are performing beneath expectations, Ipswich have done better than many of their fans dared hope – easing the pressure on McCarthy, who had come in for criticism following last season's 16th-place finish.

Five of their eight wins have come at Portman Road and, unlike Wednesday, they have several strikers contributing to the club's success.

Manchester City loanee Bersant Celina and David McGoldrick have weighed in with five and six goals respectively but Martyn Waghorn has been the star man – notching eight in 14 league games since a summer switch from Rangers.

Ipswich's direct football isn't always easy on the eye but they are a threat, averaging 1.75 goals per league game, and look value to register their ninth league win of the campaign.

Recommendation
Ipswich
1pt 2-1 bet365, 188Bet


Team news

Ipswich
Teddy Bishop (groin) and Emyr Huws (Achilles) are back in contention but unlikely to start.

Sheff Wed
Fernando Forestieri, Sam Hutchinson and George Boyd are out long-term but no fresh injuries are reported.

Key stat 
Sheffield Wednesday have won one of their last seven away games.


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Five of their eight wins have come at Portman Road and, unlike Wednesday, they have several strikers contributing to the club's success
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