Donachie aiming high

REACH for the stars and if you only make it to the sky then you will have still succeeded, writes Derek Davis.Willie Donachie has asked the Town stars to aim high in order to win automatic promotion by winning the rest of their four home games and picking up at least a point in each of the three away trips.

REACH for the stars and if you only make it to the sky then you will have still succeeded, writes Derek Davis.

Willie Donachie has asked the Town stars to aim high in order to win automatic promotion by winning the rest of their four home games and picking up at least a point in each of the three away trips.

Ipswich's assistant manager Donachie is not one for wild boasts or crazy predictions. He is a thoughtful, knowledgeable football man with a laconic delivery on the rare occasions he is wheeled out to stand in for Joe Royle and face the press.

He doesn't have that typical Scouse wit that Royle enjoys showing but his assessment is honest, touching on the brutal.


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So when this former Scotland World Cup international quietly announces that Town can go the remaining seven games unbeaten he is worth listening too.

Certainly the way the fixtures have fallen could work in Town's favour.

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On their day the Blues can be quite devastating, a la Forest 6-0, Sheffield United 5-1 and Preston a few days before when Town won 3-0.

Those two wins came during a run of 10 games unbeaten. The Blues have now gone three without loss, so that two-month sequence can at least be equalled.

The squad is arguably stronger now with Darren Currie, James Scowcroft and David Unsworth added. Royle made it clear earlier in the month that reinforcements before today's transfer deadline would not be needed as he was confident this group of players are capable of winning automatic promotion.

To do it unbeaten, as Donachie suggests, would still take some doing, but the pitfalls may not be the more obvious tough games, which start when George Burley's Derby County visit on Saturday, April 2.

The Rams trail only Sunderland and Preston as the most in-form team, picking up 20 points from a possible 30.

That there will be an extra edge to Burley's desire to win there is no doubt.

We have seen so may times over the past couple of years how Ipswich can surprise everyone by losing to teams they really should not. So possibly, instead of worrying about Sunderland on Sunday, April 17, which could be a crunch match, Rotherham at home and Brighton away, might well be their downfall.

The Blues also have Crewe at home, and where once they had hoped that would be Champagne cork popping time, it now looks as if they will have to go to the Withdean Stadium in search of securing promotion.

Sunderland are home to Stoke that day while Wigan entertain Reading.

The Latics look to have the harder run-in now, not only do they have to contend with the Black Cats, they come back after Easter to take on a West Ham side that has no consistency yet does have ability.

We have seen how tricky a trip to rejuvenated Cardiff can be and apart from Leicester, who struggle at the Walkers Stadium, Paul Jewell's men do not have a bankable game, with QPR and Preston dangerous opponents.

In-form Sunderland, top for the first time this season, also have difficult games with only the Foxes at the Stadium of Light a sure bet. They too have QPR, Reading and West Ham, and if they take nine points off that trio they deserve to go up as champions.

Ipswich should not concern themselves with Preston and Derby, no matter how well they are playing, until the end of the season.

If Town fail in their quest to finish top two, they will meet either Billy Davies' or Burley's side in the final but only if they can overcome the disappointment of having to compete in the play-offs.

That sixth-place play-off spot is wide open but the way Neil Warnock's Sheffield United side are going, and the way the likes of West Ham, Millwall, Reading and Stoke keep tripping up, you would have to fancy the Blades.

For once getting in the play-offs is not a palatable proposition, Ipswich need to go up at the first time of asking.

To do that they need to prove Willie Donachie right and secure at least 15 more points.

Can they do it? Of course they can.

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