Town must hit title-winning form

IPSWICH Town must hit title-winning form in their remaining ten games to stand any chance of playing in the Premier League next season.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town must hit title-winning form in their remaining ten games to stand any chance of playing in the Premier League next season.

They go into tonight's game at Molineux against Coca-Cola Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers (kick-off 7.45pm) with 50 points from 36 games to their name.

It will need at least 20 more points to qualify for the play-offs, and that is championship form.

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Defeats in their last two games have all but erased hopes of any glory this term after consecutive wins over Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers had raised hopes of a late run.

Tenth-placed Ipswich are now in a position when they have to win at least one of their two games this week - or sentence themselves, once and for all, to another campaign of Championship football.

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The Blues have an excellent record away from Portman Road, but unless they add to their seven victories at either Wolves or Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday their thin hopes of winning promotion through the play-offs will be dashed.

Effectively Ipswich are left fighting for one play-off place.

And they need to fight off at least eight other sides over their remaining ten games to achieve this.

On paper, Preston in sixth place with 56 points are there to be overtaken particularly as they have played one more match than Town.

But fifth-placed Sheffield United have 59 points having played the same number of matches as Ipswich. To make up nine points in just 10 games is too big an ask - almost equivalent to Charlton escaping relegation at this late stage.

So this leaves Ipswich trying to dislodge Preston from sixth place, and seeing off Burnley, Swansea, Bristol City, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace and Coventry in their quest to do so.

And after their dreadful display in last midweek's 3-0 defeat by Southampton, Town will be trembling in their boots when they return to Portman Road next Tuesday to entertain Burnley.

Just one victory in their last seven league games on Suffolk soil does not bode well for Ipswich picking up too many more home wins.

They appear frightened of their own shadows after taking on and beating visiting all-comers last season.

So to fail to get something at revitalised Wolves tonight and Reading on Saturday would be a severe blow to Magilton's hopes of continuing to lead the Blues in 2009/10.

He will be resting his hopes on his players' appetite to erase memories of the Saints display, and their ability to play as free and enterprising as they have in their last two away games - the three goals conceded at Preston apart.

Skipper Gareth McAuley will be serving a one-match ban tonight, and much will depend how a Town defence that has conceded six goals in their last two matches faces up to the goal threat of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Chris Iwelumo at a ground where Ipswich do not have a good record.

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