Pablo predicts promotion for Ipswich

PABLO Counago today looked into his crystal ball and forecast a winning end to the season for Ipswich Town.

Elvin King

PABLO Counago today looked into his crystal ball and forecast a winning end to the season for Ipswich Town.

The 29-year-old striker can see the Blues coming with a late run to cross the Coca-Cola Championship finishing line at top speed.

And if Town do not gain automatic promotion to the Premier League he predicts they will have a chance to achieve this through the play-offs.

Likely to keep his place at St Andrews tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) after a goal against Derby on Saturday, Counago can see Ipswich overtaking tonight's opponents Birmingham in the final games of the season.

“This is when our strengths will show,” said Counago, who is joint top Town scorer this term with five goals.

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“The key to having a big squad is in the final weeks of a season.

“We will be in a position where we will have fresh players who will be able to eat up the ground in late March and April.

“Our fans will see a difference at the end of the season. They may not think so at this moment.

“But I can tell them that we have a better chance of success than we had last season.

“With 18 players in the squad you are talking about tiring players particularly if it has been a hard winter.

“With 25 or so players you have enough in reserve to overtake a number of clubs in the final stages.”

Kevin Lisbie did well in recent away victories at Plymouth and Blackpool, and his defence-stretching style of play is possibly better suited away from Portman Road.

Even though Counago has yet to find his best form on his travels he is set to keep his place, although Lisbie and Jon Stead will be pushing him hard.

Counago says he now has a different outlook on life to when he first came to Ipswich as a 20-year-old in the summer of 2001.

“I am now nearing 30 and see football from a different angle these days,” he said. “I have learned more about life and understand more.

“Being left out of the side is all part and parcel of football. I am now part of a 25-strong squad and I have to understand that.

“Of course I want to play and of course I want to score goals, but the main thing is that Ipswich Town win games.

“We had to ensure that we didn't let the Doncaster defeat spread into a second game. We did that against Derby at the weekend and must now keep coming.”

Despite having a fellow Spaniard in Ivan Campo now at the club, Counago still rooms with Tommy Miller on away trips.

“We joined Ipswich together, left together and then came back again together,” says Counago. “He has a great sense of humour and we have always got on well.

“Ivan is a big personality at the club and I have a big respect for him. Now is not a good time for him, but things change quickly in football.”