Cole Skuse doesn’t think Ipswich Town are far off the finished article

Sky Bet Championship
Ipswich Town v Barnsley - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Nov 2013
Ipswich Town's

Sky Bet Championship Ipswich Town v Barnsley - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Nov 2013 Ipswich Town's Cole Skuse - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town have all the ingredients to challenge for Championship promotion – be it this season or next.

So says level-headed Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse after a goalless home draw with Blackpool and 3-0 defeat at Championship table-toppers Leicester City put a major dent in the Blues’ ambitions of finishing in the play-off places.

Mick McCarthy’s men are in 10th place, five points adrift of sixth-placed Reading with 14 matches to play. Rivals Wigan (7th), Brighton (8th), Blackburn (9th) and Leeds (10th) all have a game in hand.

Five points gained from a possible 30 against the top seven sides in the division has led to debate surrounding where the low-budget Suffolk side have fallen short, but Skuse – who arrived from Bristol City last summer – doesn’t believe the squad needs improving that much in order to close the gap.

“It’s a great dressing room,” said the 27-year-old. “It’s a great, honest, bunch of boys. To be right in the mix with quite a small squad; I think we’re doing an unbelievable job and hopefully we can go on a final little push now.

“What do we need to close the gap on the teams above us? I don’t know if I’m the right man to answer that. We’ve got all the ingredients. If we’d have converted a few more draws into wins then we’d be right up there.

“I don’t think there is much we can add to this squad to make it that much better. Maybe you’ll have to ask the manager that question.”

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Ipswich, who will be without injured top-goalscorer David McGoldrick for the remainder of the campaign, have been defeated in nine league matches this season (only the top five have lost fewer). Only six teams in the division have scored more goals, while only eight have conceded less.

It’s been a giant step forwards considering McCarthy inherited a team that was rock-bottom of the table little more than 15 months ago. Operating on a shoestring budget, the Blues boss has significantly reduced the average age of the squad, removed a reliance on loanees, slashed the wage bill and tied up key contracts well in advance of expiration.

“When the manager came in I think the town and the club in general sensed that they’d got the right man,” said Skuse. “The strides that have been made are incredible really.

“It’s a great club trying to do things the right way on and off the field. They’re not trying to cut any corners. It’s a very, very good club. A very stable club.”

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