Ipswich v Blackburn preview
Last Updated: 03/08/18 11:22am
New signings Ellis Harrison and Gwion Edwards could make their Ipswich debuts in the Sky Bet Championship opener against Blackburn.
The summer arrivals – recruited from Bristol Rovers and Peterborough respectively – are set to be key members of new Ipswich manager Paul Hurst’s squad. Cole Skuse is fit and available for selection after recovering from a thigh injury, but Joe Garner is sidelined due to a knee injury.
Elsewhere, Danny Rowe, Teddy Bishop and Emyr Huws have played some part in training but look unlikely to be considered for this weekend.
Blackburn will be without midfielders Jacob Davenport and Ben Gladwin for their second-tier return. Davenport is sidelined after suffering a hip injury during the 1-0 pre-season friendly defeat against Accrington last weekend.
Gladwin has not featured during Rovers’ build-up to the new campaign and will not travel to East Anglia as he continues his recovery from a knee issue. Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer will be in the squad but is unlikely to start given his lack of game-time since arriving at Ewood Park.
Ipswich have lost one of their last 16 home matches against Blackburn in all competitions (W10 D5), a 3-1 defeat in November 1994 in the Premier League, a season in which Ipswich were relegated and Blackburn won the league title.
Ipswich and Blackburn have met on the opening day three times previously, with all three games ending as draws (in the 1957-58, 1962-63 and 2012-13 seasons).
Ipswich Town have won three of their last four opening day matches (D1) since a 2-1 defeat at Reading in 2013-14.
Six of the eight matches current Blackburn boss Tony Mowbary has taken charge of on the opening day of a league season have ended in defeat (W1 D1) - his only win on opening day came in League One in 2015-16, when his Coventry side won 2-0 against Wigan.
Paul Hurst is set to take charge of his first match as Ipswich manager - his previous two opening day Football League matches both ended in victory, in League Two with Grimsby Town in 2016-17 and League One with Shrewsbury Town in 2017-18.
Blackburn haven't won on the opening day in any of their six seasons since they were relegated from the Premier League (D3 L3).
Paul Hurst was within one game of taking Shrewsbury to the Championship, but he deserves his chance at this level after some superb work in the lower leagues.
It's all about consolidation for Blackburn following their promotion. Bradley Dack is a fantastic talent who could really thrive and he'll be the key to them staying up. It's tough to call this one but I'm backing a narrow home win.
David Prutton predicts: 1-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)