Horce racing enthusiast Stephen Hunt hopes Ipswich Town can get a gallop on as rivals begin to fall on the final furlong

Ipswich Town winger Stephen Hunt

Ipswich Town winger Stephen Hunt - Credit: Archant

Horse racing enthusiast Stephen Hunt believes Ipswich Town can still chase down the leading pack as the Championship season enters its final furlong.

The Irish winger took the chance to spend a day at the world famous Cheltenham festival last Wednesday after playing his part in a 1-0 win at Yeovil the previous night.

Last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat means the Blues’ play-off hopes are hanging by a thread, but games against Brighton (away tomorrow), Derby (home next Tuesday) and Nottingham Forest (home next Saturday) means there is potential to quickly gain ground.

“I think by the end of next week we’ll either be right back in the mix or we’ll be trying to sit here and talk to you (the media) and desperately trying to big up the rest of the season. It’s as simple as that.

“I was at Cheltenham last week and if you want to put it into those terms then we are coming up the outside after a steady run.

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“Some of the leaders started off flying but they’ve got a mile to go and they could start running out of steam. With two or three furlongs to go, someone could get a gallop on as others start to fall.

“We’ve fallen back a bit, but hopefully we can get back on the bridle, whip the horse a bit and see if we can get any give out of it and see where we go. Let’s see if there’s any gas left in the tank.”

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Derby (third), QPR (fourth) and Nottingham Forest (sixth) have all started to falter of late, while fifth-place Wigan saw their eight-game winning streak finish with a 3-3 draw against Yeovil on Tuesday night.

“QPR and Forest were two teams I thought were home and hosed for the play-offs but I’m not convinced that’s all certain now,” said Blues boss Mick McCarthy.

“If you get on a bad run it really can grip you and it’s hard to get out of it.

“The next three games are huge games for us. I think Derby are out of our sights so the bigger ones are Brighton and Nottingham Forest because we can’t afford to let them take maximum points off us.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT for full match preview.

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