It’s a crucial stage of the season – and Ipswich Town supporters have a crucial role to play
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town supporters have a crucial role to play between now and the end of the season.
The Blues’ play-off ambitions were dealt a major blow last weekend as struggling Blackpool held them to a goalless draw at Portman Road and 16-goal topscorer David McGoldrick picked up a knee injury which could see him miss the remainder of the campaign.
Down to ninth in the Championship table, Town could be overtaken by Blackburn and caught by Leeds should the aforementioned duo win their respective game in hand.
It’s understandable that, following a decade of mid-table mediocrity, some frustration and apathy is being felt by the dwindling Portman Road faithful.
The gap to sixth-spot is still just five points though and, with a massive 45 points still to play for, any thoughts of the season meandering towards an anti-climactic feature could be a little premature.
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On Saturday, Mick McCarthy’s men will be up against it when they travel to runaway league-leaders Leicester City. Once again they will be backed by more than 1,000 vocal travelling fans.
“We have now played eight clubs home and away this season (Charlton, QPR, Millwall, Reading, Leeds, Bolton, Barnsley and Blackpool) and only one of those – Leeds United – brought more away fans to Portman Road than we took to the reverse fixture,” said club spokesman Steve Pearce.
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“We have already sold more than a thousand tickets for Saturday’s game at Leicester with Ipswich Town fans once again travelling in terrific numbers. Mick McCarthy and his players have all said how much of a lift the supporters can provide – both home and away – and really appreciate the continued backing. They cannot stress strongly enough how much of a difference it makes.”
Town’s average home attendance may have dropped by more than eight thousand over the last 10 years, but the crowd of 16,010 that watched last Saturday’s draw with Blackpool was bettered in only two of the other nine Championship fixtures in this latets round of fixtures (Sheffield Wednesday v Derby – 21,039, QPR v Reading – 16,522). Birmingham, Wigan and Watford were among those who all had smaller gates.
Liz Edwards, chairperson of the Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, said: “Although losing David McGoldrick for the rest of the season is a massive blow, we still have enough to worry most teams in this league. Getting into the play-offs will be all the more difficult now, so it is all the more important that fans get behind the team – both home and away.”