Highbury Stadium plays host to the pick of the matches in EFL League One this week as two of the division’s high-flyers go head to head. Fleetwood Town F.C. go into this one in 3rd position after three wins from their last four matches, proving many people wrong as each match goes by. On the other hand, visitors Ipswich Town F.C. were expected to make a good challenge for promotion following their relegation from the EFL Championship at the end of last season. They have done just that as 10 games into the season they look down on everyone else in League One from 1st place. A win for the home side would put the cat amongst the pigeons in the automatic promotion race, whilst a win for Ipswich could see them build a lead at the top of the table. It is sure to be an enthralling contest.
Fleetwood Town What To Watch
Despite starting the season extremely well, Fleetwood’s back line has been distinctly average so far this season. One player they will be looking at to motivate himself and the rest of the defence is full-back Danny Andrew. The 29-year-old is in his second spell with the club after resigning in the summer and as the rest of the defence has a youthful nature to it, Andrew will be expected to help his teammates stay calm when under pressure. His experience could pay dividends in big matches like this.
It isn’t just the defensive areas where Cod Army manger Joey Barton has decided to give youth a chance. Utilising the loan market to the best of his ability, Barton signed Rangers midfielder Jordan Rossiter on a temporary basis to provide additional options in the squad. Rossiter impressed on loan at Bury F.C. last season, helping the Shakers win promotion to League One despite all their off-field troubles. His manager has given him a chance at a higher level this season, but will Rossiter repay his faith with a match-winning performance against Ipswich? Only time will tell.
Fleetwood’s attack is the primary reason they find themselves 3rd in League One. However, Paddy Madden, Fleetwood’s top scorer this season has been forced to play a bit-part role in the first team, more often than not coming off the substitutes bench to make an impact. Madden has six league goals so far this season and with every goal surely comes another knock at Barton’s door requesting a chance from the start. Although, his manager has favoured starting with Ched Evans up front, but Barton will have a real headache when the time comes to name his starting line-up on Saturday.
Ipswich Town What To Watch
After the trials and tribulations of last season which saw the Tractor Boys relegated to the 3rd tier of English football, Ipswich fans will be pleased that manager Paul Lambert has toughened up the defence somewhat as the East Anglian side have conceded the fewest goals in League One so far. A major part of this has been down to the formation Lambert has implemented, utilising 3 centre-backs with wing-backs on either side. One player who seems to have fitted into this is new signing James Wilson. Although the 30-year-old centre back only featured sporadically in the first few games of the league season, Wilson has started six matches with only two goals being conceded in that time. The centre-back was signed on a short-term deal in the summer, but if he can keep that level of consistency it will only be a matter of time before Lambert offers him a contract extension.
Strangely, goals are also coming from Ipswich’s defence as well. More specifically, from right wing-back Kane Vincent-Young. The 23-year-old joined the club in August after impressing at Colchester United F.C. over the past few seasons. Vincent-Young’s attacking capabilities for Ipswich have come to light in the last couple of games as he struck the only goal in a win over Gillingham F.C. two weeks ago and notched again in the comfortable 4-1 win at home to Tranmere Rovers F.C. last time out. The wing-back’s form from both an attacking and defensive viewpoint has been outstanding, Fleetwood will have to keep an eye on him at all times.
Ipswich aren’t too shoddy going forward either, scoring an average of two goals a game. Five of these goals have arrived courtesy of another summer signing in the form of James Norwood. After helping Tranmere Rovers achieve back to back promotions in the past two seasons. Norwood sought pastures new and Ipswich came out on top of a long list of clubs who wished to sign him. Although the goals have dried up in recent weeks, the dangerman does not need any invitation to shoot and will no doubt be a handful on Saturday.
Fleetwood Town vs Ipswich Town Prediction
The hosts have done mightily well to find themselves in 3rd position, albeit in the early stages of the season and if their defence can tighten up a little, they could become even more formidable. On the other hand, their visitors are doing exactly what was expected of them, scoring goals and keeping the opposition out on a regular basis. My fear for Fleetwood this weekend is that the defence still needs time to improve and the visit of such a potent attack may have come too soon. Therefore, I believe Ipswich may just have the edge here.
Prediction: Ipswich Town - 2 Fleetwood Town - 1