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Championship play-offs: Ipswich should slump to away derby defeat

Ipswich Town’s away record was the worst of the top eight during the regular Championship season, but they must beat East Anglian rivals Norwich City one way or another at Carrow Road to reach Wembley.

This tie is finely poised at 1-1, though, and another derby day draw is a 13/5 chance with Coral in 90 minutes, but that would mean extra time as there is no away goals rule in the play-offs. Respective managers of ‘the Old Farm’ make for an interesting contrast.

Mick McCarthy is still to win a play-off tie despite a long coaching career, but the Tractor Boys are 11/2 promotion outsiders and 2/1 to qualify for the final. Suffolk side Ipswich have beaten their Norfolk rivals away just once during the last decade, so that explains odds of 4/1 for victory in 90 minutes.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Play Off - First Leg - Ipswich Town v Norwich City - Portman Road

Canaries coach Alex Neil may be a complete novice compared to McCarthy, and still needs to complete his badges, but is odds-on to see his charges beat Town in 90 minutes at 8/11 and 2/5 to advance from this derby tie.

Only Middlesbrough (5/4) are more fancied to return to the Premier League than Norwich (6/4), and they will know if it’s Aitor Karanka and company or Brentford that await them at Wembley before kicking off against their cross-county rivals.

Lewis Grabban remains suspended, so Neil looks likely to continue with Nathan Redmond and Bradley Johnson in supporting roles behind hard grafter Cameron Jerome. Jonny Howson grabbed the goal in the first leg, however, and is a tasty 10/3 to net again anytime.

His long-time midfield cohort Johnson is a box-to-box threat enjoying a real renaissance, though, and he showed willing to adopt a shoot on sight policy at Portman Road.

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Norwich City v Borussia Monchengladbach - Carrow Road

Featuring in a 7/2 wincast, all Norwich Player of the Year Johnson needs to do is net anytime and his team earn victory in 90 minutes for that superb price to reward punters, having scored 15 times including in the last Carrow Road derby.

Leading Championship marksman Daryl Murphy looks real value at 7/4 anytime after 27 league goals for the Tractor Boys this term. It’s to impact substitute Paul Anderson, though, the Suffolk side owe their foothold to in this tie, and he is 6/1 to score again here.

Punters that fancy Norwich may be best served by taking a tasty 3/1 on a home win with both teams netting. A 2-1 scoreline in the Canaries’ favour, meanwhile, is a 15/2 chance.