Date: 31st March 2017 at 8:36pm
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It’s not often that a game between Ipswich Town and Birmingham City is deemed a relegation scrap, but tomorrow it may just be that. Both sides sit on 45 points in the Championship and are at danger of slipping. Ipswich are on the longest run without a win in the Championship after Rotherham and therefore the Blues’ could not ask to play them at a better team. Both clubs have once dreamt of the play-offs this season but the lack of form has seen both sides targets get drastically lower. As Birmingham are away, it will be tougher but it’s all down to who is more potent in front of goal.

Despite looking a slight doubt for the game, so he may not start, but this week I have selected Tom Lawrence as my one to watch. Even if he has a slight injury he will still be a threat, but it is whether Mick McCarthy risks him in what is quite an important game for the Tractor Boys. Just looking through their player profiles, it is hard to see why they are doing so poorly due to the quality that they possess. Dean Gerken is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and with the likes of Christophe Berra, Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith in front of him, it seems almost impossible to get through this wall. But I think that we have improved a lot in terms of attacking movements and despite wasting some good opportunities in front of goal this season, we do have the fire power to cause trouble.

In terms of Lawrence, he is definitely their main man. I saw him for Manchester United when he was a young lad, and he was one of the best dribblers in that age group that I have witnessed, maybe slightly behind Raheem Sterling. But his problem that he wasn’t a team player and in my eyes, he often didn’t stay calm. This seems to have been resolved over time as he has become more mature and he is thriving under McCarthy’s guidance especially this season. Yes, he still sometimes keeps the ball longer than maybe he should but some of his finishing has been superb. For an attacking midfielder to score 11 goals in a season really isn’t bad going at all not to mention he’s been troubled with a recent injury.

If we try and prevent Lawrence from shooting from distance then we may have a chance. His movement into the box is not as good as other players and so it is when he has the ball at his feet that he causes the most problems. If we close him down and almost niggle at him the entire game as we would with Jack Grealish for Aston Villa, then I believe that Lawrence has the potential to become a little bit frustrated. Especially given the teams need for points.

 
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