Ten to go and all to play for

SUCH are the vagaries of the Championship that even though Ipswich Town slipped to eighth in the table after a weekend of inaction, they are just one win away from moving up into fifth place.

Derek Davis

SUCH are the vagaries of the Championship that even though Ipswich Town slipped to eighth in the table after a weekend of inaction, they are just one win away from moving up into fifth place.

With Cardiff pulling of a FA Cup shock at Middlesbrough, Ipswich were given an enforced break and could only watch as the promotion challengers jostled for position.

The biggest jumpers were Hull City whose 2-0 win in the Humber derby against Scunthorpe catapulted them up to sixth place.

City secured former favourite, and ex Colchester United loanee, Craig Fagan back from Derby but it was goals from Henrik Pederson and Michael Turner that won the game and saw the Tigers overtake Ipswich and Plymouth.

Argyle lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield United who had held Town to a draw in midweek. The revitalised Blades once again showed they are going to make life difficult for any side facing them in the last ten games under Kevin Blackwell.

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An automatic top two for Town still looks unlikely as they are ten points away with ten games to play, but not impossible as teams continue to drop points.

Stoke once again slipped up at home gaining just a point against Burnley, although that was fine for Town as it kept the Clarets below them.

Leaders Bristol City were also held to a draw, which manager Gary Johnson admitted they were lucky to even get that against relegation-threatened Leicester City.

With Tony Mowbray's West Brom in cup action against Bristol Rovers and Watford not playing, it was a good opportunity for Charlton to close the gap on the top four but they lost at home to Preston, whose excellent form of late has pulled them away from the trouble zone.

Although seemingly safely ensconced in the top six, Addicks boss Alan Pardew is under-fire by fans for not being in the top two, such is the expectancy of the recent Premiership club.

Alan Irvine has steered Preston away from trouble and by the time Town play them in the penultimate game of the regular season, it could be that the Lilywhites will have nothing to play for.

Ipswich don't have an easy game in the run-in but every one of them is winnable.

Barnsley tomorrow is going into the unknown after their FA Cup exploits against Liverpool and Chelsea and just how their mind set is.

Charlton on Saturday is the prefect opportunity for revenge after a shocking first half display at the Valley

You could point to bottom-club Colchester United but just as sure as God made little green apples there is no way the U's will give up the ghost against Town.

Second to bottom Scunthorpe should be a banker three points but it is away and Ipswich have still to convince on the road while the Iron will be scrapping for survival.

QPR have been billed as the richest club in the world after attracting three mega-bucks backers but all the money in the universe can't help them now as they have to get on with what they have and they look neither relegation fodder or promotion challengers.

Norwich are another that will probably have nothing but pride to play for when they come to Portman Road but these derbies are always feisty affairs.

Cardiff will hopefully have the semi-finals at Wembley on their minds as the league could be inconsequential to them by then.

Wolves could be the dangerous dark horses that sneak into the play-offs with a late run.

They are currently sitting in 11th place, but are just five points behind fifth-placed Charlton with two games in hand.

The season could well go down to the last game of the season and Hull City. That is when Fortress Portman Road comes into its own and this will be last place Phil Brown will want to come needing even just a point.

So we have seen yet again by the result over the weekend that there is still everything to play for and nothing has been settled at the top with 11 teams still realistically fancying their chances of at least making the play-offs.

Blues boss Jim Magilton has not give up on automatic but is honest enough to accept the play-offs are the best they will be able to manage, and after finishing 14th last season, it will represent decent progress.

He issued a plea on Saturday for everyone to stick together and back the Blues in their promotion push.

For Magilton the message is simple - Town can go up and you had better believe it.

derek.davis@archant.co.uk