It’s a marathon, not a sprint; so says Jay Tabb ahead of a return to his former club
- Credit: Archant
Jay Tabb is ‘quietly confident’ that Ipswich Town can have a successful season.
The Blues open their 12th successive Championship campaign at newly-relegated Reading tomorrow – the club Tabb was released by just a few months ago.
Around 2,700 optimistic Town fans are making the trip to the Madjeski Stadium, with manager Mick McCarthy having made no attempt to dampen talk of a push for the play-offs.
Away trips to the three teams that have just come down from the Premier League within the first two months of the new season will show just how far the Blues have come.
Tabb was quick to stress that the Championship is a marathon, not a sprint though.
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“When I was at Reading and we won the league we had a terrible start,” said the midfielder. “A good start is what every team is after, but if it doesn’t go according to plan then there is no need to panic.
“We’re all excited. Today at training the manager had to hold us back a bit because we’re all chomping at the bit to go. He didn’t want us doing too much on a hot day and not having enough left in the tank for Saturday.
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“This is my 13th season as a pro now and I’m excited as ever.
“The manager has done really well with his the additions to the squad. We’ve got a great team spirit, a good mixture of youth and experience.
“Pre-season has gone really well. At Barnet where we weren’t on our ‘A’ game, but we’ve put in good performances against Colchester and Notts County – two teams that could be pushing for promotion in League One. The preparations have been good and we all know how the manager wants us to play.”
Tabb was one of just a handful of players to depart Reading this summer, with manager Nigel Adkins – who achieved promotion from the Championship with former club Southampton – keeping the baulk of his squad together.
Key men like Adam Le Fondre, Jobi McAnuff and Alex Pearce remain, while the additions of Wayne Bridge and Royston Drenthe have made them even stronger.
Asked how he felt his former club might fare this season, Tabb said: “I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of good friends there still and quite a few coming to watch and I am sure there will be a bit of banter on the day.
“I had four-and-a-half really good years there and have nothing but good things to say about the club, but I don’t really want to talk too much about other teams.
“I don’t want to blow our own trumpet too much, but we’ve got a strong squad and have high expectations.
“I won’t say ‘we’re going to do this and that’, but we’re quietly confident this can be a good season.
“I think we’ll try and build on what we did without the ball last year and add some quality to that, aiming to create more chances and score more goals.”
– See today’s Ipswich Star and tomorrow’s EADT for a 20-page supplement ahead of the new season.