We missed the boat this season says Town star

EXPERIENCED defender Mark Kennedy feels Ipswich Town have missed the boat this season.

But whatever happened in this weekend’s final home Championship game against Preston, Kennedy still stresses that he thinks Portman Road will be a very good place to be next season.

It has been yet another disappointing campaign this time around with a guaranteed mid-table finish and precious little to stir the blood along the way.

With Town supporters pinning their hopes on a better 2011/12, Kennedy warned: “Next season I think it will be harder to get out of a division that is always hard to get out of.

“The teams that are potentially coming down from the Premier League will be favourites to go straight back up again.

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“This season was a great year to get promoted because the teams that came down last summer – Hull, Portsmouth and Burnley - did not carry the same threat.”

Kennedy, who has worked under a host of managers in his long career including former Town boss Joe Royle at Manchester City, feels Paul Jewell is someone who can lift Town into promotion contenders despite a higher quality Championship next term.

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He went on: “The manager has had a positive effect and he’s a winner.

“He’s had a taste of the Premier League and he’s had his disappointments.

“Now he wants success again.

“If he gets the players he wants to bring in, and can keep the players he wants to keep, then I’m certain Ipswich Town will be a very good place to be next season.

“There is still plenty of work to do as we have lacked a bit of experience and been a bit naive at times this season.

“We are ready for progress and the chairman wants success, and in my opinion there’s no reason why we can’t be a top-six side next season.”

A bright start under previous manager Roy Keane turned out to be yet another false dawn and when Jewell replaced the Irishman in January there was a serious chance that Ipswich would slip down into the bottom three.

“Personally, I didn’t think we would get drawn into a relegation battle,” added Kennedy.

“But I can I understand that the new manager might have thought that we would after defeat in his first away league game at Millwall.

“That, however, was on the back of two big cup games against Chelsea and Arsenal, which took a lot of mental strength and proved mentally draining.

“There was quite a bit of pressure at the time, but since the match at the Den we’ve shown the potential that is here.”

ARE you hopeful of Town enjoying success next season? Let us know – e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

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