Ipswich Town vs Sunderland Preview: Mick McCarthy looking to compile former club's misery and fire Tractor Boys into play-offs

The Ipswich boss faces his former club Sunderland on Tuesday evening with his side looking to fire themselves into the top six with victory.

Ipswich Town vs Sunderland Preview: Mick McCarthy looking to compile former club's misery and fire Tractor Boys into play-offs
The Irishman has guided Ipswich to seventh in the Championship so far this season. (Photo: Harry Murphy / Getty Images)

Ipswich Town take on Sunderland in the Championship tomorrow night, with the two sides sitting at the polar opposite ends of the league table.

Seventh placed Ipswich started the season on fire but have cooled off in recent weeks, but the visit of 22nd placed Sunderland offers Mick McCarthy's men the perfect chance to get back to winning ways against their manager's former club, with whom he spent three years including an infamous 15-point Premier League season.

Tractor Boys' inconsistent form sees them drop out of top six

Ipswich started the season in blistering form with five wins on the trot in all competitions but that form has since given way to disappointing defeats, with four of them coming in their last five in all competitions.

Their sole win came at Portman Road against rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers 10 days ago with second-half strikes from Cole Skuse and David McGoldrick ensuring the Tractor Boys halted a three-game losing run.

McCarthy's side took league leaders Leeds United to the wire on Saturday afternoon with Joe Garner's 71st minute goal ensuring the Whites faced a nervy final 20 minutes, although they held out for three points.

Scoring goals has undoubtedly been Ipswich's strong point this season with 14 league goals meaning they are currently the fifth highest scoring team in the Championship, with strikers Garner and Martyn Waghorn the club's joint-top scorers with four goals each.

Their defence has been relatively strong at home with three clean sheets from four games, although those shut-outs came against three of the bottom five in Brentford, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers.

The visit of the Black Cats will present a similar type of game to those however with Simon Grayson's side severely lacking in confidence and their defence rather porous in nature.

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Black Cats in freefall after solid start disintegrates

Sunderland fans could be forgiven for feeling a little hopeful after a start that saw them take five points against Derby County, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday in their opening three games, but that hope has quickly disintegrated with recent results and performances.

The Wearsiders haven't won in seven league games and have suffered five league defeats in that time, while their unceremonious Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Everton last week did nothing to aid their cause.

The club's horrendous home form that leaves them winless in 2017 has been well documented, but their away form is marginally better with five of their six points coming on the road this season.

A late David Meyler goal prevented them from claiming all three points at Hull City 10 days ago, while another draw against Sheffield Wednesday and a 3-1 win over Norwich City early on in the season seems to say that Grayson's players perform better with less pressure on them.

Lewis Grabban remains the club's top scorer this season with three goals despite all of those strikes coming in the first two games of the season, while fellow striker James Vaughan took eight league games to register his first for the club at the KCOM Stadium.

The potential return of winger Aiden McGeady will aid the Black Cats' cause, as the Irishman is the one of the few creative outlets in the side alongside deadline day acquisition Callum McManaman.

Team news

Ipswich are without Andre Dozzell, Adam Webster and Tommy Smith ahead of Tuesday's game while midfielder Luke Hyam could potentially be involved in the matchday squad.

The visitors are awaiting the return of winger Duncan Watmore, who has played for the club's under-23s in recent weeks, with Grayson saying "that day will be sooner rather than later"

The Sunderland boss also said that Jonny Williams and McManaman "didn't train yesterday" and so are unlikely to be involved at Portman Road, while striker Grabban is still out with a hamstring injury.

Predicted line-ups

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Białkowski; Knudsen, Chambers, Spence, Iorfa; Celina, Skuse, Adeyemi, Ward; Garner, McGoldrick.

Sunderland (4-5-1): Ruiter; Oviedo, Koné, Browning, Matthews; McGeady, Cattermole, Ndong, Gooch, Honeyman; Vaughan.