Tony Mowbray surprised at old club Town’s form

TONY Mowbray has admitted he is surprised Ipswich are not challenging his own Middlesbrough team for a play-off place.

The former Town defender and play-off hero has seen his youthful Boro side remain fighting for a Premier League promotion spot for most of the season.

At the same time, his old club have flattered to deceive, occasionally showing top-six form but now worrying more about the teams below them.

However Mowbray remains convinced that the patience shown by owner Marcus Evans in Paul Jewell will see Town right.

He explained: “I am sure Ipswich will be strong again. For me, they have a very talented manager in Paul Jewell. I spent a lot of time talking to Paul on Saturday about various things.

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“He is a football man and very knowledgable. You sometimes have to work through some difficult periods and then try and restore confidence.

“Ipswich have enough good players, backing and supporters in the stadium to make sure they will be strong in the Championship.”

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Mowbray’s surprise was made ever the more telling after his side were slightly fortunate to leave the Riverside with a goalless draw when Town visited in September.

He said: “I think there was a little bit of money spent at the start of the season and some very talented footballers arrived at the football club.

“As we felt at the Riverside, they were as good a side as we have played this season when they played the midfield diamond – they gave us lots of problems.

“For whatever reason, and I don’t know the reason as I don’t study Ipswich or watch them, they have had some results that they would have wished would have been better.”

Before all the drama on-the-pitch, Mowbray was given a warm reception as he walked to the dugout and he added: “It was nice to have a nice reception. I spent nine years of my life here, I married an Ipswich girl. Ipswich is a wonderful part of the world, Suffolk is full of wonderful people, and I only wish the club well.”

- Meanwhile, Mowbray has revealed that Boro defender Stephen McManus will not be joining Ipswich in the loan window. The Scottish international had been linked with a move to Suffolk in the January transfer window, but Mowbray has insisted the centre-back remains in his plans.

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