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John McGreal is still looking for his first win as interim boss since taking over the reins from Paul Cook following his sacking as Ipswich manager on December 4.
After losing to Charlton Athletic in his first game in charge, McGreal would have been content with a hard-earned point last weekend as James Norwood struck late on to ensure their encounter with Wigan Athletic ended 1-1.
Despite salvaging a point in that encounter, the Ipswich dressing room will be in low spirits after crashing out of the FA Cup following a 2-0 defeat to Barrow in their second-round replay during the week.
With no cup competitions to focus on for the rest of the season, the Tractors Boys will concentrate on trying to improve their league position, with Saturday’s hosts currently occupying 12th position.
Although they face a tough test at the weekend, Ipswich will aim to utilise home advantage once again after winning four of their last six league games at Portman Road.
Meanwhile, Sunderland are flying at the moment having embarked on a six-game unbeaten league run, which has seen them rise up the table to third place.
Goal difference is the only reason the Black Cats sit just behind Wigan Athletic, who occupy second position and Lee Johnson will be fully aware that a positive result at the weekend could see his side move into the automatic promotion places.
Their home success continued last weekend as they edged out Plymouth Argyle, with Dan Neil and Nathan Broadhead scoring to help Sunderland to a 2-1 victory despite Dan Scarr netting for the Pilgrims in the second half.
The hosts are likely to be without the services of Wes Burns and Bersant Celina, with injury issues set to rule the pair out of Saturday’s contest.
After scoring last weekend, Norwood could earn a first league start of the season on Saturday.
Ipswich could name a similar side to the one that managed to collect a point away at Wigan last weekend.
Meanwhile, Dennis Cirkin, Corry Evans and Denver Hume have all returned to training, but the weekend’s encounter will come too soon for the trio.
Lynden Gooch is a doubt for the weekend’s fixture after picking up an injury against Plymouth last weekend.
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If Gooch is not available then Johnson may have to make slight alterations to the midfield, which could lead to Elliot Embleton getting a starting opportunity.
Ipswich Town possible starting lineup:
Walton; Vincent-Young, Edmundson, Burgess, Donacien; Aluko, Evans, Morsy, Edwards; Norwood, Pigott
Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Hoffmann; Wright, Flanagan, Doyle; Winchester, Neil, Pritchard, Embleton, Dajaku; Broadhead, Stewart