De Vos in Wigan warning

BLUES defender Jason De Vos is refusing to rely on former club Wigan blowing up again as they did at this stage last season for Ipswich to win automatic promotion, writes Derek Davis.

BLUES defender Jason De Vos is refusing to rely on former club Wigan blowing up again as they did at this stage last season for Ipswich to win automatic promotion, writes Derek Davis.

De Vos was part of the Wigan side that won the Division Two Championship in 2003 and then took what is now called the Championship, by storm.

The Latics were looking good for a second straight promotion but faded badly in the latter stages and in the end missed out on a play-off place on the final day of the regular season by conceding a last-minute equaliser at home to West Ham and allowing Crystal Palace to sneak into sixth spot and eventual promotion.

De Vos doesn't expect them to make such a hash of things this year, but expects Paul Jewell's side to finish third because Ipswich have done their job properly.

The Canadian international said: "Last season, when I was at Wigan, we had five difficult fixtures to end with and we had Jason Roberts suspended for five games.

"It is not so much we blew it but more we could only pick up three points from those games against established Championship teams while we were in our first season.

Most Read

"We can't rely on Wigan slipping up though. We have to do it ourselves. We have five games left and we know if we win them all we will go up so we must continue to focus on what we are doing and not look at anyone else.

"All three teams have a difficult run-in and so many things can still happen in all the games left. With 11 players, anything can happen at any time which can't be predicted. The game is not played on paper, if it was we would win on the coupons every week. That is the beauty of football."

De Vos accepted responsibility for Rotherham's first goal on Tuesday night and even felt bad about the other two, which he could not have done anything about.

He said: "It would have been better if I had left the long ball forward and then it would not have gone to their player. There was a mix-up in communications between me and Bam Bam (Richard Naylor) and if I had not got a touch on it then Bam Bam would have probably cleared.

"I always blame myself when we concede a goal. As a defender, you always feel you could have done something to prevent it. It is the same as a being a keeper. When things are going well you can go along unnoticed but when it all goes wrong there is nowhere to hide.

"To be a keeper or a defender, you need to have a certain type of personality to deal with that.

"We will learn from the experience and move on and try to make sure nothing similar happens in the next game.

"As a team, we accept the credit when we win and we have to take collective responsibility when things don't go as planned. There is no point in finger pointing – we have to go on from here as a unit."

De Vos, who stands in as Blues captain when Jim Magilton does not start, admitted the hurt lingered long after Tuesday night but conceded there were a lot of good things in the game.

He said: "We will take the positives out of the game, it would be too easy to be negative.

"It was one of those games defenders hate. The two second-half goals they got were both down to a great big slice of fortune.

"We should have killed the game before then but we did manage to hang on and get the three points. It would have been better for us to win 4-1 than 4-3 in terms of goal difference but the truth is we got the three points.

"Even though we moved second, after the game it felt as if we had lost and the coaches really had to pick us players up.

"We set ourselves such high standards that when we defend as we did we are going to be very disappointed."

But De Vos, who signed from Wigan last summer because he felt Town had a great chance of going up, admitted being second with five games to go is a terrific scenario that he dared not hope for when he first arrived.

He said: "If we had been offered this position at the beginning of the season we would have happily taken it, as I'm sure most Ipswich fans would have done."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter