Holland's warning to Town

MATT Holland has warned that Ipswich Town face losing some of their star players if they fail in the play-offs again this year, writes Derek Davis.And Holland revealed he may well have left the Blues in the summer of 2000 if they had not been successful at Wembley, with current Town manager Joe Royle looking to buy him for his former club Manchester City.

MATT Holland has warned that Ipswich Town face losing some of their star players if they fail in the play-offs again this year, writes Derek Davis.

And Holland revealed he may well have left the Blues in the summer of 2000 if they had not been successful at Wembley, with current Town manager Joe Royle looking to buy him for his former club Manchester City.

The Charlton captain skippered George Burley's side to success that year, so the dilemma never arose, but it could have altered the course of Town, City and Royle's history.

Richard Wright is another who would have probably gone that summer and once again a Blues keeper is attracting interest, so Holland is hoping the Blues taste promotion success this year so they hold on to their top players.


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Holland said: “In the year we went up there had been talk of Joe Royle being interested in signing me, Arsenal had been linked heavily with Wrighty and there would have been others that clubs would have liked to sign.

“This is a big year for Ipswich. If they don't go up, there will be interest in a number of players and the squad could break up. One or two could be sacrificed but they wouldn't need to do that if they get in the Premier League, so it's definitely a big year for the club.

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“It's been a terrific season for the goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, and there's potential interest in a lot of players.”

Holland is confident that Town can gain revenge on his former club West Ham, where he played in the youth team along with Kevin Horlock and Darren Currie.

“There are four teams vying a place. The law of averages says that you will win it one in four times. Perhaps they're due another and I've got my fingers crossed for them. Ipswich will be looking for revenge against the Hammers after last year.

“I went to Upton Park last year and the lads weren't at their best on the night, but they will be better for that experience this year. They've played better this year. They looked like winning the Championship for a while.

“They've scored a lot of goals so they've got some match winners in the side.”

Holland also believes last year's experience will give Town an extra incentive.

He added: “If I look back, there was a real determination that year that it'd be our year. We finished third that year as well and after the disappointment of the previous years, there was real determination.

“Some of the players are still there. Jim Magilton will be leading the team out and he's got all that experience from his years in football. That'll help the younger players.”

He also sees Town as the in-form side with one defeat in 10 matches.

He said: “If you look at Ipswich's form over the last seven games, it's been pretty good. So I think they won't fear anyone.

“Along with Sunderland and Wigan, they've been top-three all season, so I think this year it could be them.”

Holland admits he will have mixed feelings if the Blues get to meet Derby in the final in Cardiff.

He said: “I think Ipswich can do it this year but there are two other clubs in it and Derby and Preston have had good seasons. If it's Derby in the final, I'll be a bit torn, because George was the one who gave me my break.”

Despite being asked by Sky TV to be the expert summariser, Holland won't be able to experience the semi-final feeling this year as he is training on Saturday for Charlton's end of season clash with relegation-threatened Crystal Palace and then goes away on a pre-booked holiday on Monday.

n Teenager Charlie Sheringham has signed a new one-year deal to stay with Ipswich Town.

The 17-year-old son of West Ham striker Teddy Sheringham joined the Blues before Christmas after being released by Tottenham and was part of the Town squad that won the FA Youth Cup.

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