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.
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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.
Although they have lost just once at home in the league this season, Sunderland have struggled to match that form on their travels, collecting just 14 of their 42 points on the road this term.
With their opponents out of form, Johnson will see Saturday’s contest as a prime opportunity to find their fifth away victory, with Sunderland looking to replicate the 1-0 win they achieved at Portman Road last season