Vaclav Hladky has been one of the stars of Ipswich Town's brilliant season. He's been speaking about his contract situation, the promotion race and more....

It's one of the oldest cliches in football, a sport rife with the same old mantras and predictable soundbites.

Every season, with around ten games to go, a manager or player somewhere sounds the 'we've got (insert number here) cup finals to go' - a reference to either a promotion race or relegation battle. 

But, for Ipswich Town and keeper Vaclav Hladky, that old adage rings true. The Blues are four games from the Premier League - and all they've got to do is win them, starting with the visit of Middlesbrough tomorrow.

East Anglian Daily Times: Vaclav Hladky says Town are approaching every game like a cup finalVaclav Hladky says Town are approaching every game like a cup final (Image: Ross Halls)
"Yeah, I think it feels like that," the Czech stopper admitted of the cup final cliche. "It felt two weeks ago like eight cup finals to go, so it is what it is and we always take every game like a cup final.

“We know what we are capable of at home, we know we are so strong and with 30,000 people behind us it’s even more so. We are always looking forward to the home games and we know we can probably beat anyone.”

Another mantra at Town is focusing on the process, with boss Kieran McKenna and his players often insisting they don't look at the table.

If they were to glance, they'd see a frighteningly tight race for the automatic promotion spots, with the Blues, Leicester City and Leeds United embroiled in a three horse race for two places.

East Anglian Daily Times: Boss Kieran McKenna often insists he and his players don't pay attention to what their promotion rivals are doingBoss Kieran McKenna often insists he and his players don't pay attention to what their promotion rivals are doing (Image: Ross Halls)
Asked about that battle, Hladky admitted: “You have a look at the table and you see the results, but I’m going to say the same thing that we have to pick up the points and we to be focused on ourselves and be ready for every game.

“We have the advantage to do it ourselves as we are one point ahead of Leeds so we hold the cards.

"As much as we can, we want to win every game and hold this advantage that’s in our hands.”

After Wednesday night's frustrating 0-0 draw with Watford, Hladky has now kept 14 clean sheets this season, the third-best figure in the league, behind only Illan Meslier of Leeds United (19) and West Brom's Alex Palmer (17).

Again though, the team is all mantra which runs through the culture at Town shows in Hladky.

East Anglian Daily Times: Hladky made some important stops against WatfordHladky made some important stops against Watford (Image: Stephen Waller)
“I’m not really following the stats,” he said. “They can prove your performances but I’m not the person that follows every single number in my season and watching where I am.

“I’m thinking more about the results and the performances in general.”

One thing which is a source of pride for the athletic glovesman is his ability with the ball at his feet, a key part of Town's playing out from the back philosophy.

“Kieran was the man who brings our level to the next level,” Hladky said. “But I have always liked having the ball.

“Even if I was part of a team who doesn’t really play from the back, I was like ‘give me the ball!’ and have secret conversations like ‘we can play even if the manager does not like it too much!’.”

Of course, that approach is a live by the sword, die by the sword scenario - and, while Hladky's been part of building from the back for some great goals, there have been some nervy moments and the odd costly mistake.

East Anglian Daily Times: Hladky says he enjoys having the ball at his feetHladky says he enjoys having the ball at his feet (Image: Ross Halls)
But he insisted: “It’s not always easy if you want to play your style and take the risk, sometimes that can happen at any time.

“You have to be strong mentally to go again and try and show your character, to stay in the game and try to win even if that happens.”

Hladky's superb season, much like Town's success, has been something of a surprise.

East Anglian Daily Times: A pre-season injury to Christian Walton saw Hladky get the gloves - and he's not looked backA pre-season injury to Christian Walton saw Hladky get the gloves - and he's not looked back (Image: Ross Halls)
He entered the campaign as back-up to unquestioned number one Christian Walton, who was one of the best keepers in League One last term.

But a pre-season injury to Walton's foot saw Hladky take the gloves, and he's not looked back.

Now, after his outstanding form, Hladky is out of contract this summer - so will Town be able to keep hold of a man who was linked to Scottish giants Celtic recently?

Fans will be pleased to hear that talks are underway between the Blues and their number one.

 “Actually I don’t know,” Hladky said of the latest on those. “The contract is not signed yet, so that’s the only thing I know. You can ask someone else.

“My biggest point is I want to carry on here because it’s a massive club and I’m so happy coming here every day.

"I want to stay here, for sure. Hopefully we can find a way to get it done.”