Former Ipswich Town boss backs Cole Skuse as Blues’ key man in Championship promotion race

Cole Skuse

Cole Skuse celebrates his goal against Cardiff in 2015. Photo: Archant - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

George Burley has backed Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse to be the cool head in a high-octane Portman Road atmosphere on Saturday.

The Blues host mid-table Nottingham Forest at the weekend, knowing a victory or draw in their final regular home game of the season and defeats for Brentford and Wolves at Reading and Wigan respectively will secure their Championship play-off spot.

Burley, who led Town to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2000, has urged the Blues to go for the jugular against the Reds.

However, such an approach will require the right balance of defence and attack, and Burley thinks Skuse, who often goes under the radar, will be a key cog in the wheel against the Reds.

“For me, one player who is very important is Cole Skuse,” said Burley.

“He plays that role in front of the back four and I don’t believe there is anyone else at the club that can do that.

“He is vital for the balance of the team and when Ipswich are going forward, you need someone like him in and around the back four.

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“Cole is a very key player and has been missed when he has not played.

“He’s a major influence and if there was one player I would say Town could not do without, it’s the boy Skuse. I was also pleased to see him get his goal, against Cardiff, recently.”

A big crowd is expected to turn out at the weekend with fans on Twitter launching the hashtag #packoutportmanroad, as Ipswich attempt to reach the play-offs for the first time in a decade. Burley hopes the team can deliver amidst the hype and expectation.

“It’s all in Ipswich’s hands, which is great,” insisted Burley, whose former team drew 2-2 with Forest at the City Ground, in October.

“A win on Saturday would virtually guarantee a play-off spot given their goal difference, so it has to be full steam ahead and nice and positive.

“There will be a big crowd and a lot of expectation, but Ipswich have won their last two home games so hopefully they can continue that run.

“The town is buzzing with the prospect of reaching the play-offs and then having a good chance of reaching the top flight.”

Town can only finish as high as fifth in the Championship, meaning any play-off fixture will see the Blues host the first leg at Portman Road.

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