matches of the day

As for the best game of the day on paper, the Oakwell clash between sixth-placed Barnsley and the team one place above them, Derby County, looks like the pick.

The Tykes are four points behind Town with two games in hand, and three behind fourth place Bolton with three games in hand.

They could still get into the automatic promotion mix, and of course they still have to host the Blues, on March 25.

Ipswich Star: Paul Warne's Derby County is fifthPaul Warne’s Derby County is fifth

Derby, meanwhile, have cooled off a bit since their tremendous unbeaten run ended at Wycombe earlier this month.

They have only won one of their last three but are still in the promotion race, with one game to go against Town and two against Bolton.

Both teams also feature ex-Town strikers, of course, and both scored last weekend.

David McGoldrick has 16 goals in 31 games this season, including three hat-tricks, while James Norwood has seven goals in 31 games, with four in his last ten.

Elsewhere, the game between Peterborough (9th) and Plymouth (2nd) also looks good, as does the matchup between Shrewsbury (8th) and Wycombe (7th).

More on those Wanderers shortly.

Ipswich Star: Darren Moore's Sheffield Wednesday have not lost in the league since early OctoberDarren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday have not lost in the league since early October (Image: Archant)

city ​​rivals

We’re keeping an eye on all sides of the city now, with only 14 games to go, aren’t we?

The Barnsley and Derby duel is covered above, so let’s take a look at the others.

Top of the table Sheffield Wednesday travel to Charlton, who are 11th, looking to extend their crazy unbeaten run.

Darren Moore’s men have not lost in the league since a 2-1 defeat at Plymouth on October 4 – that’s 19 games!

Bolton, who were riding like a charm until derailed at Wycombe last weekend, entertain Port Vale in the middle of the table.

Wanderers will be boosted by booking a trip to Wembley in midweek, beating Accrington to secure a place in the EFL Trophy final against Plymouth.

One would expect both the Owls and Bolton to grab three points this weekend.

Ipswich Star: Matt Bloomfield, left, replaced Gareth Ainsworth as Wycombe Wanderers bossMatt Bloomfield, left, replaced Gareth Ainsworth as Wycombe Wanderers boss (Image: AP)

Suffolk boy wanders Wycombe

I mentioned that we would be returning to Wycombe earlier, so here we are. It’s been a busy week at Wanderers, who have won five league games in a row and now sit just three points out of the top six.

But longtime boss Gareth Ainsworth of the long hair and leather jackets has jumped ship to prove himself in the Championship at QPR.

His replacement, coming from Felixstowe and having gone through the Ipswich Town academy, is Matt Bloomfield.

Bloomfield comes to Wanderers fresh after turning around Colchester United’s fortunes in a matter of months and is a true legend at Wycombe, having played 558 games for them.

“It felt so good to come back,” he said. “It’s a really exciting time for the football club and an exciting prospect for me. I’m ready for this job.”

“The lure of coming back here to run this football club was always going to be too great to turn down.

“It’s been a great experience for me. I’ve always had hopes and aspirations of being the manager here one day and I think leaving here, even for a short time, has helped prepare me for this opportunity.”

“I’ve had so many special memories in Wycombe. I was looking at photos with my daughters last night and it reminded me of some of the amazing times we’ve had here. I’m sure we can create many more special memories here.”

Bloomfield start with a challenging game at Shrewsbury, who were unbeaten from New Year’s Day until losing at Accrington last time out.

It will bring Wycombe to Portman Road on Good Friday, April 7, and that one could be huge.

Ipswich Star: Mark Bonner has Cambridge United board backingMark Bonner has the backing of the Cambridge United board (Image: PA cable/PA images)

Bonner wins board endorsement

Cambridge United were many pundits’ choice for the dark horses this season, but it was not played like that.

The U are in the thick of the relegation fight, sitting 22nd in the table, having won just eight of their 31 games so far and have recently gone eight games without a win.

Despite that, owner Paul Barry has insisted this week that highly-skilled young boss Mark Bonner is not at risk of being fired.

In a message to fans, Barry said: “The commitment and the way the coaching staff have handled the recent spell has been first class.

“As always in football, most of the burden is carried by the head coach and Mark has shown real character and leadership during this period.

“It has been absolutely critical to our recent success and all of us, owners and board of directors, see it as part of our future.”

Ipswich Star: Leif Davis is one of the best third-tier creatorsLeif Davis is one of the best creators of the third level. (Image: Ross Halls)

Stat Leaders

Peterborough’s Jonson Clarke-Harris remains the top scorer in the third tier, with 16 strikes.

But Town’s Conor Chaplin is now tied three-way for second place 14th, along with Bristol Rovers’ Aaron Collins and Bolton’s Dion Charles.

McGoldrick is third with 13.

Collins still tops the assist charts with ten, one ahead of Exeter’s Jevani Brown. Flying Town left-back Leif Davis is third, with eight.

Davis is also now tied with Wednesday Wizard Barry Bannan for most chances created, with 79 each.

Full accessories (3pm unless stated)

Oxford United – Bristol Rovers (12:30pm), Barnsley – Derby County, Bolton Wanderers – Port Vale, Burton Albion – Accrington Stanley, Charlton Athletic – Sheffield Wednesday, Exeter City – Cambridge United, Fleetwood Town – Morecambe, Forest Green Rovers – Lincoln City, MK Dons vs. Ipswich Town, Peterborough United vs. Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth vs. Cheltenham Town, Shrewsbury Town vs. Wycombe Wanderers


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