Grant “turns” towards Swans

GRANT Leadbitter hopes that Wednesday night’s dazzling Carling Cup success, over Premier League West Brom, will be a “turning point” in Ipswich Town’s whole season.

GRANT Leadbitter hopes that Wednesday night’s dazzling Carling Cup success, over Premier League West Brom, will be a “turning point” in Ipswich Town’s whole season.

Match-winner Leadbitter, who tucked home his third penalty of the season to dump the Baggies out of the Cup, had been painfully aware of his and his team’s failings over the last month.

But the influential midfielder believes that Town’s precious 1-0 win over West Brom, in addition to earning a mouth-watering two-legged semi-final against Arsenal in the new year, could also help to propel Roy Keane’s men back up the league.

“This could be a turning point for us this season,” insisted Leadbitter.

“We’ve got to get back to it on Saturday (at home to Swansea) and get a result, because we need to be back up competing for the top six.

“The most important thing is to start moving up towards those play-off places. We had a good start to the season, but we have let it slip over the last month or two.

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“We’ve all been disappointed in the dressing room, but we want to get a run going again,” added Leadbitter.

The gloom surrounding Town’s torrid run of results in the Championship was partially lifted by the quarter-final victory over West Brom, achieved courtesy of Leadbitter’s 69th minute penalty.

Yet this Cup success does not hide the fact that Town have lost seven of their last nine league games, have lost their last four on the bounce, and were thumped 4-1 at deadly rivals Norwich in their last Championship outing.

Leadbitter admitted: “We let ourselves down, and the fans down, on Sunday.

“We wanted a reaction, not just for the fans, but for ourselves, because we were not proud of our performance at Norwich, especially in the second half.

“We didn’t need anyone telling us that we were poor. We knew it ourselves, that we were poor at Norwich, and at Hull, and at home to Barnsley.

“You know yourself when you are not playing well.”

Looking further ahead, Leadbitter relishes the chance to play a two-legged semi-final against Arsenal. The first leg is at home, during the week beginning January 10, just a few days after Town visit Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup.

It’s a daunting schedule, but Leadbitter has enjoyed some success against the Gunners, during his days at Sunderland - he clambered off the bench to score in the Black Cats’ 1-1 home draw against Arsenal in October, 2008.

He added: “Arsenal are one of the best footballing sides in the world, but we have got to enjoy these sort of games. Being at home first gives us a chance of getting a result.”

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