Fabian - don't mention the score

WHATEVER happens, if you bump into Fabian Wilnis this afternoon, don't mention the Wigan score, writes Derek Davis.The Dutchman is desperate to go into this afternoon's crucial Championship clash with Crewe unaware of how the Latics get on at Preston.

WHATEVER happens, if you bump into Fabian Wilnis this afternoon, don't mention the Wigan score, writes Derek Davis.

The Dutchman is desperate to go into this afternoon's crucial Championship clash with Crewe unaware of how the Latics get on at Preston.

Paul Jewell's men sit two points, and a massive 17-goal difference better off than Town, and play north-west rivals Preston at Deepdale in a crucial encounter for both teams kicking off at 12.15pm.

After losing at Wolves following Sunderland's win over Wigan, which allowed Town the chance to leapfrog their rivals, Wilnis would rather no one had an advantage, so there is no added pressure.


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He said: “It is better for us if we don't know the score really.

“When we knew the Sunderland/Wigan score before we played Wolves it disadvantaged us.

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“It put extra pressure on the players and we know what happened.

“I would prefer it if the games were at the same time, then you just have to get on with your own performance.”

The Dutch defender, who helped Town win the play-offs in 2000, believes that Town need all three points today to ensure they are still in with a chance of going up automatically.

He said: “A point is not enough for us. It might have been different if we had won at Leeds, but now we know we need to win both games.”

Not that he sees relegation-threatened Crewe as a soft touch.

He was in the side that lost in 1999 as then-bottom Crewe beat Town 2-1, which proved a springboard for them to escape relegation while damaging Town's automatic promotion hopes.

So, even though Alex have conceded 80 goals, more than anyone else in the division, and Town have scored 79 goals, the highest in the Championship, Wilnis is wary of Dario Gradi's side.

He said: “Everyone is writing off Crewe but it won't be easy, and we need to concentrate on what we are doing and not make any mistakes.

“If Wigan do drop points we need to be there ready.

“Crewe are a good side and they showed that when we played at their place. They made it really hard for us but they had Dean Ashton in the side then.

“They will be fired up for the points because they need them for their relegation fight.

“It is intense at the moment football-wise with the two games coming up, and we need to focus on our own game.”

Wilnis has recovered from a slight ankle injury and will take his place on the right side of defence.

Like a few in the squad, he is looking to secure a new contract in the summer after one of his best seasons in a Town shirt.

The only thing missing so far is a goal, and now would be as good a time as any to get one. Only don't put him off by telling him about any goals at Deepdale until after 5pm.

n Should Wigan or Town need the play-offs they will, as third-place finishers, play whoever finishes in sixth spot. The first leg will be played on either Saturday, May 14 or the day after.

The Blues or Wigan will be at home for the second leg, which will be played on either Wednesday or Thursday evening.

The final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will be played on Monday, May 30. All the play-off games will be televised live.

n THE IPSWICH Town Under-18s team who won the FA Youth Cup will go round the stadium in a lap of honour at half-time this afternoon, rather than before the match.

They will be hailed by another big crowd, as only two cash turnstiles will be open today - on the Cobbold Stand - and the club are expecting an attendance in excess of 29,000.

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