'We're still in contention' - McGuinness on Town's promotion hopes

Mark McGuinness defends during the second half at Charlton Athletic

Mark McGuinness defends during the second half at Charlton Athletic - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town's on-loan defender Mark McGuinness says that in an 'up and down' league, the Blues intention is still promotion.

The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland U21 player was part of a Town team that kept a clean sheet at Charlton in the 0-0 League One draw.

Armando Dobra drives forwards during the second half at Charlton Athletic

Armando Dobra drives forwards during the second half at Charlton Athletic - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

The point edged them closer to the play-off positions once more - they are now four points off sixth place. And with so many clubs continuing to drop points, McGuinness says there is no reason not to think about promotion.

"This league is so up and down, no-one has run away with it," he said.

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"If we can just get a little run going - two or three games in a row - you never know, anything can happen.

"We're still in contention and our thoughts are definitely to get promoted."

McGuinness made his Town debut back in October, keeping a clean sheet, in a 1–0 win over Gillingham. He scored his first Town career goal in a 1–0 win at Burton Albion.

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Of late he hasn't been a starter, but he returned to the Town side at The Valley and alongside Luke Woolfenden kept a clean sheet.

James Norwood with an early headed chance at Charlton Athletic

James Norwood with an early headed chance at Charlton Athletic - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

"When you are not starting, just watching, you are going to be frustrated," McGuinness said.

"But the gaffer has his reasons.

"But I'm here with the team, so when I get an opportunity, I have to take it. I always try to do my best when opportunity comes and to keep a clean sheet was a bonus - so I did my job really."

And his partnership with Woolfenden worked well - both players comfortable on the ball, as well as their defensive duties, in the draw at The Valley.

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"Me and Woolfy, that's part of our game, being happy on the ball, as well as being solid defensively," McGuinness added.

"I thought our first half was much better. We started well and moved the ball better, retaining possession. It was unfortunate we couldn't get a goal because I think we would have gone on to win if we had.

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook directs his players during the second half at Charlton Athletic

Ipswich boss Paul Cook directs his players at Charlton - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

"Charlton are a top side and gunning for promotion so any point against opposition like this is always a good result, especially away from home."

Town head to Northampton on Tuesday night in a game they really must win if they are to stand any likely hopes of a late surge into the play-offs.

Sixth place - at least -  in League One remains up for grabs right now - but Ipswich are among a plethora of teams gunning for it - including Saturday's opponents Charlton, Oxford, Gillingham and Doncaster.

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