Basement battle gets hotter

IPSWICH Town have their sights set on the play-offs, but they could still have an influence on matters at the other end of the table.And so could basement club Colchester United, who are odds-on to become the first club to be relegated to League One.

Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town have their sights set on the play-offs, but they could still have an influence on matters at the other end of the table.

And so could basement club Colchester United, who are odds-on to become the first club to be relegated to League One. The U's entertain Town on Saturday.

The upturn in fortunes of Preston and QPR, over the last couple of months, have seen them both of them reach the sanctuary of mid-table and a healthy 53 points.


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But no club is safe below them, which means that any three teams from a pool of nine will be relegated.

However, on the basis that the U's and second-from-bottom Scunthorpe are almost certain to be relegated over the next couple of weeks, that leaves just one place to fill.

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Ipswich will relegate their East Anglian neighbours on Saturday, if they can complete a league double over United at Layer Road. In fact, Geraint Williams' men could well be doomed regardless of their own result, depending on results elsewhere.

Town could also leave their other East Anglian rivals, Norwich City, glancing nervously over their shoulder if they can beat the Canaries at Portman Road on Sunday, April 13.

A hat-trick from Jamie Cureton, which helped to sink his old club Colchester 5-1 a fortnight ago, had lifted Norwich away from troubled waters. But Glenn Roeder's men, following a 2-1 defeat at Bristol City last Saturday, are only a worrying three points clear of the bottom three.

If Norwich fail to beat visiting Burnley this weekend, then the warning bells will be sounding again. That would increase the pressure on them, ahead of their trip to Portman Road, especially as their following fixture is against promotion-chasing West Brom!

Colchester might be resigned to their fate, but they look sure to have a big say on who goes down with them.

The U's travel to Leicester City on Saturday week, with the Foxes currently just one point clear of the drop zone, and then entertain Coventry City in their penultimate Layer Road fixture. The Sky Blues are also in the relegation mix.

Alas, the U's final game of the season, at Scunthorpe United, seems destined to be a dead rubber between two relegated teams.

It will be a chance to say farewell to the Championship, and also to have an early taster of life in League One.

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