Town to start at home against Gills
IPSWICH will start the new season with a visit from bogey club Gillingham.The unfashionable Kent outfit, who only just escaped relegation last term, have triumphed on their last two visits to Portman Road.
IPSWICH will start the new season with a visit from bogey club Gillingham.
The unfashionable Kent outfit, who only just escaped relegation last term, have triumphed on their last two visits to Portman Road.
After a 1-0 win in October 2002, just days prior to Joe Royle's appointment as manager, the Gills did it again in November last year when a last-gasp goal clinched a dramatic, and unexpected, 4-3 success.
The August 7 clash could have added spice if, as expected, Gillingham complete the signing of former Norwich striker Iwan Roberts as player-coach.
Roberts was a constant thorn in Town's flesh during his time at Carrow Road and was targeted by the Gills upon his release by the Canaries at the end of last term.
Although it may not be the most glamorous of starts to the new term, it will still attract a bumper gate.
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Ipswich are confident that season ticket sales will be on a par with last year's figure of 18,000-plus as fans buoyed by the team's progress to the play-offs last month back them again.
There is also a good chance of the side featuring several new faces, although Canadian international defender Jason De Vos is the only addition to the squad since last season.
Manager Joe Royle will step up his search for reinforcements next week, with the squad set to report back for pre-season training on Monday.
The fixture list also shows that Town will head for the East Midlands for an away double-header with Nottingham Forest and George Burley's Derby County before Cardiff, visitors on the final day of last season, are back at Portman Road on August 21.
Fans will note there are several blank Saturdays throughout the new campaign, starting in September, so as to avoid clashing with England's World Cup qualifiers against Austria, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Although there will be no derby fixtures for at least one year, due to Norwich's promotion to the Premiership, there are still a number of top games to whet the appetite.
Town visit West Ham, who wrecked their hopes of play-off success, on September 18 and the return game at Portman Road is scheduled for January 1.
Town will visit Millwall on Boxing Day and fans will have to be up early on Monday January 3 for the long haul to Devon to face newly-promoted Plymouth.
March could be a crucial month, with Ipswich facing trips to Wigan, Cardiff and Gillingham, and their only home game being against one of the promotion favourites, Nottingham Forest.
The following month, when they will hope to be very much involved in the promotion race, Town travel to relegated clubs Wolves and Leeds, as well as facing Sunderland at home.
Ipswich's last game, which could have a lot riding on it, is at Brighton, where the limited capacity of their Withdean Stadium is likely to mean only around 400 visiting fans being allowed to attend.
All fixtures are subject to change, depending on the games selected for live television coverage by Sky Sports.