Johnson backs Town for play-offs

DAVID Johnson has backed the Blues to still make the play-offs, writes Derek Davis.Once dubbed the King of Portman Road, Johnson netted both Nottingham Forest goals to dent Town's promotion hopes, while virtually assuring his side's Division One survival.

DAVID Johnson has backed the Blues to still make the play-offs, writes Derek Davis.

Once dubbed the King of Portman Road, Johnson netted both Nottingham Forest goals to dent Town's promotion hopes, while virtually assuring his side's Division One survival.

Dean Bowditch's first-half goal was not enough as Town went down 2-1 at home but stay in fourth place and are still in the driving seat to reach the play-offs.

Johnson, who was part of the team that won promotion via the play-offs in 2000, is convinced Town have enough quality to go to the knock-out stage once more.


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Although a win and a draw in their final two games, away at Sheffield United on Friday and at home to Cardiff City, would be enough, the Nottingham Forest hit man believes Town will scoop all six points.

He told the EADT: "For them not to make it would be a travesty and they have it in their locker to win the next two games."

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The win means Forest are all but safe as new manager Joe Kinnear took his record to just two defeats in 15 games since taking over.

The Jamaican international added: "We can relax a little now and enjoy the rest of the season. We have Wigan to play and we want to keep on winning, while I would love to do Ipswich a favour at the same time."

The 27-year-old was given a rapturous reception by almost 28,000 Town fans before the kick off, but 12 minutes later they wanted his head as he scored the first of his two goals.

He said: "It was an amazing reception and it is always good to come back here where I had three great years and helped win promotion.

"We set up two chances and finished them off really well. Fortunately I was the one lucky enough for them to fall to.

"The quality of the service was fantastic because Ipswich didn't give us many chances, so it was great to come back to a place like this and get a win.

"We dug in well because it was a tough game for us. Ipswich are a good team and have been on a good run so we knew it would be hard."

Johnson's brace means he has netted three times in just two starts since coming back after a seven-month lay off with a broken leg.

Johnson said: "My aim was just to get the three points but to get the goals was a bonus. I didn't even expect to be playing. We had Gareth Taylor and Marlon King in there scoring goals and I was happy to bide my time. But it was fantastic to get my chance and take it.

"I'm aware of the nerves around the place and the feeling is if they can make it tough they will."

Blues boss Joe Royle predicted Johnson would be a threat and admitted he had tried to sign him on more than once occasion at other clubs, just to stop him scoring against his teams.

Royle said: "Beware players coming back to haunt you. It happens. They find a yard. He has not had an awful lot to do apart from score the goals but he has taken both well.

"I'm not happy with our defending on either but that seems to be a regular thing this year."

Jim Magilton limped off with a dead leg but is expected to be fit for Friday's trip to Sheffield United, while Tommy Miller is also expected to recover from a hamstring injury.

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