Drissa wants to get Town back to the top

DRISSA Diallo loves being a champion and is looking to be top of the tree once more.

DRISSA Diallo loves being a champion and is looking to be top of the tree once more, writes Derek Davis.

The Guinea international won the second division of the Belgian League twice with Mechelen and quite understandably prefers being No. 1 than dabbling in the doldrums as he did at Burnley and his early days here at Ipswich.

After getting a brief taste of being top of the Championship with the Blues earlier this month after beating Millwall, Diallo is aiming to help fire Ipswich top again tonight against current leaders Reading.

Diallo said: “I know what it is like to be at the top and I know what I prefer.

“I was promoted twice and twice won the Championship.

“Both were very different. The first one came when we changed the manager 12 games left of the season.

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“We were 11 points behind the leaders but we won 10 games and drew two to clinch the title on the last day.”

Mechelen were also relegated twice, but Diallo uses that as a positive to appreciate the good days.

He added: “I have experienced both being at the top and being with teams that are struggling and I can cope with it.

“When you are struggling you just concentrate on the next game and don't look at the table.

“When you are top you wake up each morning a happy man.”

There was no disguising that Town played badly on Saturday yet still dug out a victory, a strength that bodes well.

Diallo said: “It is a big boost to know that we are not playing well yet are still winning games.

“We know that when we are playing our best we will get even better results.”

He knows that Town will have to be on their game to beat league leaders Reading.

He added: “We need to play a lot better than we did on Saturday, that is for sure.

“I have played against Reading a few times and they have always been a good team.

“They are very solid at the back and under Alan Pardew they played with just Nicky Forster up front, now he has a good partnership with Dave Kitson.

“Steve Sidwell also gets into the box and they use width well so they are a good team.

“Their scout watching us against Plymouth will report back and say how bad we played but we showed spirit. That was a bad game now we owe everyone a good game and Reading could feel the backlash from that.”

The free signing from Burnley in the summer of 2003 is relishing his new role as a right-back, but admits he is still looking to snatch his first Ipswich goal.

He said: “It is going well for me. My first job is to defend but I'm also trying to get forward more. I have the legs and the athleticism to do that but if I can get on the end of a cross and score that would be a bonus.”

Diallo keeps his place in defence tonight but with Fabian Wilnis starting a three-match ban the left-back berth will revert back to Matt Richards.

Jerome Sobers, an 18-year-old former painter and decorator, plucked from non-league obscurity with Ford United last year has been added to the squad.

Shefki Kuqi is likely to start up front instead of Pablo Counago, although Dean Bowditch has impressed in training and is a possibility.

Ian Westlake will be reinstalled on the left side of midfield while Tony Dinning continues to try to impress manager Joe Royle with the second month of his loan spell from Wigan expiring after Sunday's game with Coventry City.

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