Burley backs Ipswich Town to beat Derby and Southampton – then secure automatic promotion

George Burley

George Burley - Credit: PA

George Burley – the man who guided Ipswich Town to their last promotion – has backed the Blues to repeat the feat this season.

The Scotsman, back living in the town and attending the majority of matches at Portman Road, took the Blues into the Premier League via the play-offs in 1999/00.

And he’s not only tipped the club he still refers to as ‘us’ and ‘we’ to beat two of his former clubs – Derby and Southampton – over the coming week, but also to go on and finish in the top two Championship spots.

“Everyone is looking forward to these next two games and I fancy us to win both of them,” enthused Burley, who will be among a near-capacity Portman Road crowd for Saturday’s second versus third Championship clash with the Rams (12.15pm ko, live on Sky Sports) and next Wednesday’s FA Cup third round replay with a high-flying top-flight Saints side (7.55pm ko, live on BBC One).

“I have got every confidence in the players and the management team.

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“We’ve been fantastic at home, have never looked like losing since the Norwich game and the players will fancy any match there at the moment.

“Can we go up automatically? I’ve got every confidence. Bournemouth are doing fantastically, but Ipswich have matched them all the way.

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“Those two look very strong and I see no reason why they won’t end up as the top two. Ipswich have certainly shown the consistency to stay up there.

“Mick (McCarthy) has got a side that he knows exactly what he’s going to get from week-in, week-out. They’re always competitive and strong, while there’s a good mixture of youth and experience.”

Burley continued: “I took both Southampton and Derby to the play-offs, but it didn’t help that I never had that behind-the-scenes continuity. I left Derby because I didn’t get on with the director of football and I must have had three or four chairmen in my last season at Southampton.

“Continuity behind the scenes and backing from the board is so important. And Mick McCarthy has that in Marcus Evans.

“At Derby, I lost Tom Huddlestone in January because I didn’t have the backing of the board. Financially, they couldn’t afford to keep him.

“I can’t see that happening at Ipswich. Why would they sell anyone at this stage? They have to be seen as one of the favourites for promotion and you can’t put a price on that these days with all the television money and parachute payments.”

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