Gallery: Ipswich Town are back in automatic promotion hunt - Mick McCarthy

Richard Chaplow scores the late winner at Watford

Richard Chaplow scores the late winner at Watford

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says his side are back in contention for automatic promotion after a dramatic last-gasp Richard Chaplow goal secured a 1-0 win at Watford this afternoon.

Victory lifts the Blues back into sixth-spot and within four points of the now second-place Hornets. Just nine points separates the top eight sides in the Championship table with seven games to go.

“With seven games to go it’s a huge result for us,” said McCarthy. “It’s fabulous. We’re back in the top six I believe.

“I thought it was a really top tactical performance as much as anything against a team who try and play through you.

“We had to change a couple of times to accommodate them, I thought we did it particularly well.”

Chaplow - on in the 86th minute - latched onto fellow sub Freddie Sears’ through ball before coolly slotting the ball in the bottom corner in the fourth and final minute of stoppage-time to send 2,200 away fans delirious.

“It’s a great victory in the last minute, a great finish by Chappers. I thought all the subs did really well today,” said McCarthy.

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“He (Chaplow) might have thinking about Brentford and that chance he had on the edge of the box that he put into the keeper’s hands.

“He’s got a bit of quality though Chappers, he’s a good player.”

With Town keeping a second successive clean sheet, Watford failing to produce a single shot on target, it was another good afternoon for a Blues backline that has come in for some criticism in 2015.

“That’s why I told all those that criticised them to ‘Foxtrot Oscar’!” said McCarthy. “By the way, that still applies. If the cap fits, ‘Foxtrot Oscar’.”

He continued: “I have a really small squad, but I trust my players, they’re a really honest bunch of lads and they give everything. I say to them, if you leave anything on the pitch make sure it’s a good impression. Generally they do.”

With one journalist labeling the Championship weird, McCarthy joked: “I think you’ll find I’ve been calling it bonkers. If you want to change it to weird I’m cool with that though.”

Asked if his team are back in the automatic promotion hunt, he said: “I ruled us out of it two weeks ago didn’t I? I keep saying to everybody, it’s how many points you end up with. I said in the week that after the next two games (Watford away, Bournemouth at home) we’d be really out of it or right back in it. At the moment we’re back in it.”

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