De Vos defends Championship standard

IPSWICH Town skipper Jason De Vos today defended the standard of football in the Coca-Cola Championship.However, just because tonight's opponents Barnsley are only three places above the relegation zone, they are as capable of playing as well as a side in the top six.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town skipper Jason De Vos today defended the standard of football in the Coca-Cola Championship.

However, just because tonight's opponents Barnsley are only three places above the relegation zone, they are as capable of playing as well as a side in the top six.

This season's division has been dismissed as mediocre by a number of judges, with the Blues being advised to gain promotion this term as 2008/09 is bound to be tougher.

De Vos, the 34-year-old central defender, cites the success of Championship clubs in the FA Cup as evidence of the strength of the division.

He said: “With the big influx of foreign players into the Premier League, a good number of players have trickled down to the Championship.

Most Read

“There are now a large number of players in our division who have plenty of Premier League experience.”

Although Barnsley will be desperate for points, they have shown they are no mugs by beating Liverpool and Chelsea in the last two rounds of the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals.

De Vos added: “Both Liverpool and Chelsea fielded their big hitters and from what I have seen the best team won in both cases.

“Even though they are not looked upon as our most difficult opponents, they are still a very talented and gifted side.”

De Vos confirmed that he is putting to the back of his mind whether or not he may hang up his boots at the end of the season.

He added: “A decision will be made in due course and before then hopefully we will have something to celebrate.

“With ten games left we must concentrate on gaining the majority of points on offer, then we will reach the play-offs.”

Town boss Jim Magilton must decide whether to make any changes to his side after the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United last Tuesday.

Sito Castro turned his ankle in a reserve fixture, but other than that Magilton has a full squad from which to select.

It is midfield where Town may make changes with Owen Garvan or Tommy Miller partnering Velice Sumulikoski in the centre of midfield and David Norris playing wide.

Jon Walters, Alan Quinn and Danny Haynes will be contenders for the other wide position, with Walters also competing with Pablo Counago for a place alongside Alan Lee up front.

Dean Bowditch and Gary Roberts are both back with Ipswich after loan spells at Brighton and Crewe.

Magilton said: “Dean has a groin injury and is being assessed by our medical people.

“Gary has an achilles problem and has had a scan. It will be a case of seeing how things go before we see about him going back to Crewe.”

Academy full-back or midfielder Kurt Robinson has signed a professional contract with the Blues that will keep him at Portman Road until June 2009.

Robinson said: “I've got 18 months now to show the gaffer what I can do and hopefully force my way into his first team plans.”