Town's season could just about be over
Ipswich Town's season will effectively be over if the Blues fail to beat West Brom in the Championship at Portman Road tomorrow night.
By ELVIN KING
IPSWICH TOWN: Their season will effectively be over if the Blues fail to beat West Brom in the Championship at Portman Road tomorrow night.
Town fans face the prospect of four months of lower table mediocrity if their favourites fail to see off one of the strongest sides in the division.
And acting skipper Grant Leadbitter promised today to give supporters something to shout about tomorrow.
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Ipswich's 2-1 fourth round FA Cup defeat at League One Southampton on Saturday ended hopes of a run in the world's most famous cup competition.
This leaves them just above the drop zone and with no scope other than to win game after game if they are to shoot up the table and become unlikely play-off candidates.
Town took over 3,000 expectant fans to St Mary's Stadium, and Leadbitter, who took over the captains armband from injured Jon Walters at the interval, said:
“We let them all down.
“They came to see Ipswich stay in the cup and we failed to do that. It was not good enough.
“We have to pick ourselves up and give them something to shout about tomorrow.”
Frustrated Town fans can take heart from two of their previous three FA Cup defeats to the Saints as in both 1960/61 and 1999/00 they went on to gain promotion to the top flight of English football.
“It was a proud moment to wear the armband and the first time I've captained the team,” added midfielder Leadbitter.
“But the result was no good and Southampton were too good for us. They had a game plan that worked.
“We finished strongly, but then you'd expect that when you're two-down.
“I wanted a cup run and it was a big chance to make progress, so to lose is a massive setback.”
Leadbitter, who has proved manager Roy Keane's best signing, knows the importance of turning the tables on a West Brom side that were comprehensive 2-0 winners at the Hawthorns last April.
“We've got to bounce back and if we want to achieve anything this season that's exactly what we need to do,” he said.
“I knew things would improve, because there's good players at this club, but we haven't turned things round yet.
“There's still a long way to do.
“We're a lot more solid as a team but we've got to move up the table. There's no doubt about that.
“We need to put points on the board every Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.”
Walters has a hamstring strain that Keane says is likely to see him miss a number of games.
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