Irish influence can help Ipswich continue recent record at Charlton
Ipswich Town, 7/2 Championship promotion chances with Coral, have lost just twice on their travels in the league so far this term. Couple that with two wins on the spin at The Valley, and it’s easy to see why they are 13/10 favourites to beat Charlton Athletic.
This televised lunchtime fixture makes for an interesting spectacle, as the hosts are backed by Belgian investment, but have seen their own promising early season form tail off.
Five draws in the Addicks’ last six home games where they are still unbeaten, added to the Suffolk side sharing spoils in three of their previous five on the road, make odds of 9/4 for honours to be even again tempting.
What that price, and the 21/10 on offer for a Charlton victory, fail to take into account, though, are Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy’s in-form Republic of Ireland forward Daryl Murphy.
Ipswich have taken 10 points from a maximum of 12 on offer in November, with the ex-Celtic and Sunderland striker scoring four in as many outings.
Murphy is therefore, magnificent value at 5/1 to net last, having done so against Blackpool, Wolves and Bournemouth. He even grabbed the winner in this fixture back on Boxing Day 2012, so it’s understandable that he is a shorter 5/4 in the anytime market.
But McCarthy’s Irish influence doesn’t end there. Although born in Barnsley, the Tractor Boys boss played for and later managed the Republic, and it’s those connections that have attracted compatriots to his current team.
Ipswich have snapped up Leeds United misfit forward Noel Hunt on loan, to act as backup fellow Ireland internationals Murphy, David McGoldrick and Connor Sammon in attack. Brother Stephen is also knocking about at Portman Road, having served McCarthy well at Wolves.
More striking perhaps, especially with Scotland centre back Christophe Berra (another who performed at Molineux when the Tractor Boys boss coached them in the Premier League) suspended, is the free transfer signing of Sean St Ledger.
He is unlikely to feature from the start, however, having sustained a serious injury which kept him out for over a year.
Tying St Ledger to a short-term deal is a canny capture by McCarthy, but it is highly-rated Tyrone Mings catching the eye in defence with scouts from Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly running the rule over him. Ipswich are 9/5 to keep a clean sheet and 3/1 shots to win to nil.
Also lining up at the back for the visitors will be New Zealand international Tommy Smith. This latest meeting between the Tractor Boys and Addicks comes one day shy of a year since he grabbed the winner in last term’s encounter. Smith is a 12/1 shot to score at The Valley again here.
Charlton are frankly, over-reliant on Angola frontman Igor Vetokele, which is no better illustrated than by the fact he has netted 40 per cent (eight out of 20) of the club’s league goals. Vetokele is the same price, 5/4, as Murphy in the anytime market, but his menace has been intermittent.
McCarthy and Ipswich must also be wary of wide threat Johann Berg Gudmundsson (7/2) and scoring skipper Johnnie Jackson (5/1), who has two in the last four encounters between these teams.
Your best bet here is surely Murphy in a wincast with sumptuous odds of 7/2 on offer. With such an attractive price and his purple patch set to continue, punters will be quids in if they back McCarthy’s men.