Danny Higginbotham reflects on Ipswich Town spell and explains why Blues can be late play-off contenders

Danny Higginbotham

Danny Higginbotham

Former Ipswich Town defender Danny Higginbotham says Ipswich Town can be late play-off contenders.

The former Manchester United and Stoke defender left the club last January to move closer to his home in the north and joined League One outfit Sheffield United until the end of the season.

The veteran was part of a beleaguered squad that was cut adrift at the bottom of the second tier on McCarthy’s arrival but was also part of the initial turnaround that eventually saw the Blues recover.

This term, Town have no such problems although, five points adrift of the top-six, some fans will see anything other than a play-off spot as a failure.

Higginbotham dismisses that theory however and, despite being dropped by McCarthy at Portman Road, has backed the Blues to move onwards and upwards under the 55-year-old.

“There always seems to be a team that comes through late into the top-six and, as ever, the Championship is so difficult to predict,” he said.

“Ipswich are in eighth place, five points off the play-offs but they have got a settled back four and have scored more goals this season, and still have a great chance.

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“It boils down to consistency come the end of the season and the team that enters the play-offs with that momentum usually does well.

“They have lost David McGoldrick to injury but Daryl Murphy can definitely lead the line for Town.

“Murph is one of the most talented players I have played with.

“He has got everything. He can pop up with goals, play up top on his own, and he is one of the strongest lads around.

He added: “They also have Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who knows where the back of the net is in the Championship.

“If they don’t make the play-off this time, I fully expect them too next season, and I think it will be a case of onwards and upwards under Mick.”

Higginbotham will call time on his long career at the end of the season, having retired playing domestic football at non-league Altrincham last month.

He will hang up his boots after two international friendlies playing for Gibraltar against the Faroe Islands and Estonia.

He hopes to carve out a long and successful career working in the media but will always look out for the Blues’ scores and remains fond of the club and management.

“I really enjoyed my time there working under Mick (McCarthy) and Terry (Connor),” said Higginbotham.

“Mick dropped me from the team but I still have full respect for him because he was 100% honest, and he was right.

“He pulled me into his office and said, ‘I’m dropping you, you have been rubbish’ and I had been awful the previous two games.

“You can’t ask for anything more from a manager and he does not blow smoke up your backside.”

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