Fighting spirit and effort will earn Ipswich Town top six spot - Ian Marshall

Ian Marshall is launching his own Football Academy, likely to be based at Greshams and starting in S

Ian Marshall is launching his own Football Academy, likely to be based at Greshams and starting in September. - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town striker Ian Marshall says guts and determination, rather than skill and guile, will guarantee the Blues a top six spot.

The 49-year-old, who is returning to Ipswich to open the Ian Marshall Football Academy, is willing his former team to reach the Premier League and believes a play-off final victory against Norwich City would be the icing on the cake.

Town moved back into the play-off places courtesy of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Watford, Brentford slipping out of the top six after their home draw with struggling Millwall and Marshall, who scored 38 goals in 96 games for Town between 1993 and 1996, said: “I see a lot of fighting spirit and effort in the team and maybe that dropped down a little when the results went against them recently.

“Ipswich aren’t laden with super talented football players, but it’s a team effort that gets them results and everyone needs to be putting in 100%.

“The Bolton game wasn’t a great one, but in the end Town’s effort got the result.”

Marshall won the second tier title with Oldham in 1991 and was also promoted with Bolton, via the play-offs in 2001.

Town are just five points off second-placed Watford now but Marshall insists the priority must be to secure a play-off berth.

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“Ipswich have stayed in the hunt and they need to do that, even if it’s only going for sixth place,” said the Liverpudlian.

“A couple of months ago I was thinking they were going to get second place and now they’re clinging onto sixth.”

Marshall, who also won the League Cup with Leicester and the Football League Trophy with Blackpool, played under former Town boss Joe Royle in Oldham’s promotion-winning team and added: “We won the title, we went up as champions, and that is the best way.

“When you finish third you think you should be up anyway and if you get done by the sixth-placed team, who often feel fortunate to be there and given the opportunity, it almost feels like you have been cheated. But they’re the rules, the play-off final is a one-off game and a Norwich/Ipswich final would be nice with a Town win.”

For more from Marshall and for details on his Football Academy, see today’s Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times.

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