Dramatic finale still a possibility for Town - Burley and Holland
WHISPER it quietly but Ipswich Town could still stage the most dramatic surge into the play-offs of all time.
The wannabe gatecrashers will have to win all of their last four matches – starting with Thursday night’s red-hot derby against Norwich City – but the “distant dream” remains alive.
That is the verdict of both the man who masterminded the Blues’ last promotion to the Premier League, George Burley, and his former skipper Matt Holland as they look ahead to the big derby match.
Ipswich remain a long shot for the top six but if Portman Road can witness a fantastic win over the promotion-chasing Canaries, Town will be just THREE points off the play-off spots for one night at least.
Burley refused to rule out a dramatic finale, but insisted his old club would have to beat Norwich, Swansea City, Preston and Leicester City before turning their attentions to results elsewhere.
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The former Town boss said: “I would love to think (it is still possible) although I think they might have left it a little bit late. They have had a great run. Paul Jewell has steadied things, he has his own style and the players are enjoying going out there and playing. It might be a little bit too late but who knows? If they win every game, they still have a chance.”
A top-six finish does seem a flight of fantasy given the many permutations among the seven sides in with a shout of finishing in the final play-off spot.
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Town fans would probably settle for just beating the old rivals on Thursday night – severely damaging Norwich’s own promotion aspirations in the process.
And Holland, who was part of the famous 5-0 thrashing over the arch enemy in 1998, believes the home fans will be celebrating a happy Easter.
The fans’ favourite, now presenter of the BBC’s Late Kick Off programme, said: “Both teams are in good form and Ipswich have really turned things around and I can see them nicking it. It is amazing to think Town could go three points outside of the play-offs after thinking about relegation just a few months ago.
“I think Town will go close to the top six. It is a long shot and they have to win all four games as well as other teams slipping up. It is a distant dream but it remains a possibility.
“No matter, I expect Ipswich to be even stronger next season, getting the contracts sorted and signing players in the summer, and I am sure they can hit the ground running.”