Fabian's shock at being top

THE Blues may have been top of the Championship for 10 weeks now but Fabian Wilnis still checks the table a couple of times a day - and pinches himself.

By Derek Davis

THE Blues may have been top of the Championship for 10 weeks now but Fabian Wilnis still checks the table a couple of times a day - and pinches himself.

The Dutchman still can't quite believe Ipswich Town are not only on course for promotion but have the Championship title firmly in their sights as well.

He freely admits that, should Town reach the Premiership again, second time round would be all the sweeter because he thought the chance had gone, after flopping in the first two seasons after relegation.

Wilnis said: “This would be better by far. After all that has happened to me as a player, and what the club went through, getting promoted would be amazing and would mean a lot more to me.”

Compared to this time, five years ago, Wilnis believes the Blues are better-placed to reach the top-flight.

Most Read

He said: “The confidence is even higher this time. When we went up the last time, we were never league leaders and this time round we have been for quite a while.

“We are getting used to being top, we want to stay there and we now believe we can.”

Wilnis was handed a one-year contract last summer but admits that, when so many players left at the end of last season, he feared the worst for Ipswich.

He said: “I honestly never expected us to be in this position.

“During 2000, we knew in the summer before that we had a team of players capable of winning promotion. But, at the start of this season, I looked around and seven players had left the club and we had only got in Jason (De Vos) and Kevin (Horlock).

“I thought this would be a really tough season for us. You always hope but I never thought we would be top of the table. Then, when we went top in December, it was such a big achievement.”

While many of his team-mates claim they are not thinking about where they are in the league, Wilnis is unashamedly proud.

He said: “I'm really enjoying being top. It gives you confidence knowing that you are the team to beat and we know we can beat anyone.

“There is always at least one moment in the day when I look at the league table. We are five points clear of Wigan and Sunderland and 13 points clear of Preston so, if it doesn't happen for us this year, then it never will.

“We just have to really keep on going for it.”

While it is the players who have won the points, and are still averaging more than two points a game, Wilnis knows exactly who is behind the success.

He said: “It all goes down to Joe, Willie and Steve, who have made every player better than they were last year.

“As a defender we work on specific things with Willie (Donachie), and the midfielders and strikers work with Steve (McCall), and all the hard work and training is paying off. The team spirit is the best it has been in my six years at the club and that is a reflection of how things are going.”

Although Wilnis sees Wigan and Sunderland as the biggest threat, he believes tonight's game at Deepdale represents their toughest test left.

He said: “It does look like a three-horse race for automatic promotion and, with 14 games to go, as long as we keep winning we are favourites.

“Sheffield United and Leicester were two difficult games and to get away with six points was really good.

“We are not there yet and we know it won't be easy at Preston.

“This is possibly the toughest game we have left, although we have Wigan away and Sunderland but, straight after Preston, we must concentrate on Watford, who will not make it easy for us.”

Wilnis faces an uncertain future, with his contract expiring in the summer, but he is not letting that worry him and, instead, is fully enjoying the moment.

He said: “I'm very happy with my own form and the confidence the manager has given me. Things are going well for me at the moment, and long may it continue.”

n Blues' reserve team winger Daniel Flack is set to join League Two club Boston United. The 19-year-old, who has been told he will not be offered a new deal by Ipswich when his contract runs out in the summer, will link up with the York Street club on Tuesday, after impressing for Town Reserves recently.

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