'We are still on track' - Burns believes Town can make play-offs

Wes Burns in action against Cheltenham.

Wes Burns in action against Cheltenham. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Wes Burns says he has 'no doubts' that Ipswich Town can go on a lengthy winning run to secure a League One play-off spot.

The Blues find themselves in ninth and six points adrift of the top-six after frustrating draws against Cheltenham (0-0 at home) and Morecambe (1-1 away) last week.

Kieran McKenna's men are back in Lancashire this weekend, for a game against Fleetwood, and have 10 more games left after that.

"We are obviously disappointed only taking two points from the last two games, but we have spoken as a group and agreed it is probably our two best performances in terms of dominating the game and creating chances - it was just literally that we couldn't put the ball in the net for whatever reason," said Burns.

Wes Burns celebrates after scoring Towns second.

Wes Burns celebrates after scoring in Ipswich Town's 3-0 home win against Burton. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"When the boss first came in we said that if we could average two points a game from now until the end of the season then it should take us very, very close to the play-offs if not in them.

"We did a recap yesterday and we are very much on track for the two points per game (Town's record under McKenna reads P12 W7 D3 L2 Pts 24).

"We have got 11 games left and if we manage to keep up the two points per game then that's 22 points which would take us to 75 and I think only once in the last 20 years that hasn't been good enough to get a team in the play-offs."

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To hit that marker, Town will need to finish with a record of W6 D4 L1 or W7 D1 L3.

Asked if he felt such a return was possible, Burns replied: "Definitely. Everyone is seeing our style of play and the way we are dominating most games. There's always a team that goes on a run towards the end of a season. Last year it was Blackpool and I have got no doubts that this year it will be us.

"I think we'd be having a different conversation if we weren't creating chances, but we are.

Ipswich Town vs Burton Albion

Wes Burns has scored 10 goals so far this season. - Credit: Ross Halls

"Everyone can see that teams are sitting back against us now and defending their box. When we score an early goal it makes the opposition come out a little bit more and try and get themselves back in the game.

"We've just got to be ruthless and put teams away when we're on top. We just need to add that cutting edge and killer instinct."

Burns' goal at Morecambe took his own personal tally for the campaign to 10.

"This is my best ever season in terms of goals scored," said the Welshman. "I set myself a target at the start of the season and I can say now that the target was 10. So anything from here on out is a bonus."

Now only two goals behind leading scorer Macauley Bonne (who has scored just one in his last 20), Burns was asked if he thought he could finish as the team's leading scorer.

Wes Burns celebrates with Janoi Donacien, after scoring to take Towns second.

Wes Burns celebrates with Janoi Donacien. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"If I keep doing what I'm doing there's a chance," he said, six of his goals having come since McKenna was appointed.

"But Conor Chaplin is only one behind, so he's one to look out for in terms of the golden boot as well.

"But obviously what would be perfect for for the team is if Macca catches fire again and scores 11/12 goals like he did at the start of the season."

Ipswich have scored six goals in the last seven games, with three of them coming in the home win against Burton.

On the flip side of that, they have conceded just five goals in 12 games since McKenna took charge, keeping eight clean sheets.

"It really gives you the confidence to attack and commit men forward when you know the keeper and defence are so solid behind you," said Burns.

On the impact McKenna has had since replacing Paul Cook back in December, he added: "When the boss first came in he said he wanted us to enjoy training on a day-to-day basis. He's definitely delivered on that. We are learning new stuff every day and I think that's showing in the games. I think we're a very exciting team to watch."

Wes Burns scores the late second half equaliser for Ipswich at Morecambe.

Wes Burns scores the late second half equaliser for Ipswich at Morecambe. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Burns came through the youth ranks at Bristol City, but found himself regularly sent out on loan. His fourth spell away from the Robins was at Fleetwood, in 2016, where he scored five goals in 14 appearances.

Then, after a temporary switch to Aberdeen didn't work out, Fleetwood made the move to sign him permanently. 

The 27-year-old went on to play 176 games for the Cod Army before getting snapped up by the Blues last summer.

"I owe Fleetwood a lot," he said, speaking ahead of his return to Highbury this weekend.

"They showed faith in me at a time when I was having a rough spell in my career. At that time I wasn't really playing much and was low on confidence, but they gave me a three-year deal and stuck by me during the bad times."

With Fleetwood just two points above the drop zone, Burns added: "It will be good to go back there and see some old faces, but this is definitely a massive game for us. We can't afford to drop many more points."