In Jim's dreams - or will it be reality?

IF you don't have dreams they can't come true.Jim Magilton admitted during his pre-match press conference on Friday that he had a dream that entailed Ipswich going up via the play-offs - well now it is time for all his players to believe in their dreams.

Derek Davis

IF you don't have dreams they can't come true.

Jim Magilton admitted during his pre-match press conference on Friday that he had a dream that entailed Ipswich going up via the play-offs - well now it is time for all his players to believe in their dreams.

Magilton was always convinced, when many of us weren't, that it would go down to the last kick of the last game and so far he has been proved right.

Mathematically, Town are still very much in with a chance of making the top six. After all, they only have to beat Hull City at home on Sunday and hope results elsewhere once more go their way.

Probability would suggest it won't happen; after all, even if Town do win, they need to rely on others but all they can do is go out, get the three points and see what happens.

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There are a couple of ways they can go up. If Palace draw, then Town need to have beaten Hull by three goals. Not so many if Watford lose as Town would go above them on goal difference.

Conversely, if Palace and/or Wolves win and Watford draw then it doesn't matter what Town do.

All very interesting and exciting and all made possible by a late equaliser by player of the year Jon Walters at Preston.

Walters wasn't at his absolute best but was alert enough and good enough to take a touch on a sublime Owen Garvan through ball before tucking past the impressive Andy Lonergan three minutes from time to give the Blues a deserved point.

Amazingly, in a division where it seems everyone wants to be in the top six but seem to be doing their damnedest not to make it, the Blues are still in with a chance even though they have accumulated just 66 points in 45 games.

Against a Preston side whose Championship status was already assured, Ipswich set off at a sizzling pace.

Ten minutes in and Danny Haynes whizzed down the right and crossed for Alan Quinn, whose header was superbly turned away by Lonergan.

Although Youl Mawene cleared Garvan's corner, it fell invitingly to Tommy Miller, the last player Preston would have wanted the ball to go to given his record against them.

The Blues midfielder drove it back hard and low and into the bottom corner through a crowd of players for his eighth goal in nine appearances against the Lilywhites.

Stunning stuff, but Town allowed Preston to get back into it and thoughts of the beach were banished by Alan Irvine's men who, it has to be said, could well have been challenging at the top end if he had taken charge earlier.

Their equaliser owed a lot to good fortune as Chris Brown, a former Canary and team-mate of Miller's at Sunderland, drove in a shot that took a hefty deflection of Town skipper Jason De Vos to wrong foot Stephen Bywater.

It was harsh on the Town keeper who had earlier made a magnificent save from Neil Mellor and overall impressed with his saves, distribution and calmness.

Ipswich had enough chances to win a couple of games and Pablo Counago was unlucky to see his shot come back off the inside of a post and go back across goal but no one was following up.

The Spaniard, who had a fitness test half an hour before the game under the watchful eye of physio Mark Endacott, did put the ball away later but was clearly offside.

There would have been nothing offside about David Wright when he did brilliantly to get into the box to get to a low Alan Lee cross but somehow the ball skipped off his foot and went wide from just two yards.

That miss looked to have been costly when substitute Simon Whaley was able to get away from Haynes and cross past Danny Simpson.

The ball was not dealt with by De Vos or the otherwise exemplary Alex Bruce and Wright, and it fell neatly for Mellor who buried his 10th goal of the season.

You had to feel for Bruce, who had been outstanding at the back throughout, and the keeper, who could do nothing about the goal.

But this Town side showed the week before at Wolves that they will not lay down easily and Walters' late leveller was deserved because, even though Preston were playing good expansive football, so were Ipswich.

Jim Magilton had stuck with the starting XI that drew at Molineux but fit-again Shefki Kuqi and Velice Sumulikoski came off the bench at the expense of Gavin Williams and Jordan Rhodes. Kuqi fell far short of the required standard, although Lee put himself about. But his propensity to go down too easily and whinge at the officials probably didn't help him when he went down under a Mawene challenge and neither official wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ipswich have not won at Deepdale in the league since 1966 and the draw was probably fair enough and keeps the dream alive for what should be a nigh- on full house at Portman Road on Sunday.