Why Ipswich can end their mini-slump at Brentford on Saturday

Town cemented their play-off challenge with three wins in five games in February, but have lost both matches since. Now they can get back to winning ways.

March has started badly for Mick McCarthy's men with a crushing 2-0 derby defeat to Norwich City and a midweek 2-1 reverse at Leeds United. Now they face a tough home encounter with Brentford, who lie one place above them in sixth in the Sky Bet Championship table, occupying the last play-off place that Ipswich themselves covet.

But McCarthy will draw inspiration from the 4-2 Boxing Day win at Griffin Park, when two goals from Daryl Murphy helped establish a 3-0 half-time lead. It was one of the Portman Road side's most impressive performances of the season and given Brentford's strong home record this season, is sure to give Ipswich the psychological advantage going into Saturday's crucial clash.

McCarthy will also be encouraged by the striker situation at the club. 21-goal top scorer Daryl Murphy was rested on Wednesday night against Leeds, although he did come off the bench and missed a chance to salvage a draw with a late penalty. In his absence Freddie Sears capped a fine performance with his fourth goal for the club since his January move from Colchester United, and Chris Wood also impressed on his first start on loan from Leicester City.

Wednesday night's defeat at Elland Road was a game McCarthy felt his team "should never have lost" and his team are sure to be fired up after two defeats that have left their once-certain-looking play-off chances in need of a boost. 

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