Kieron Dyer, Marcus Stewart, Fabian Wilnis, James Scowcroft and John Wark are all backing Ipswich Town ahead of an exciting finale
- Credit: Archant
Just goal difference keeps Ipswich Town outside of the Championship play-off places heading into their final four matches of the campaign. STUART WATSON spoke to several former Blues favourites ahead of an exciting finale.
Homegrown star helped Blues to three successive top-six finishes in the late ‘90s before Newcastle came calling. Now back at the club as an academy coach.
“It’s all to play for and we have got a great chance.
“I was a little bit worried when Didz (David McGoldrick) got injured because he’s Town’s best player, but (Daryl) Murphy has stepped up and Jonny Williams has really added something.
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“Every time you think Town’s chances of finishing in the top-six are doomed, they seem to pull another result out of the bag.
“There are some tricky games to come, but Ipswich have shown they can be a match for anyone – especially at home.
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“Burnley seems like the hardest game on paper, but hopefully they’ll be celebrating promotion by then and will have taken their foot off the gas.
“There is a real feel-good factor around the training ground. You know you’re on to something when none of the lads are talking about their summer holidays or booking anything. Their minds are all set on making the play-offs.
“If they do finish in the top six it would be a phenomenal achievement given the position the club was in a year ago and the lack of money which has been spent. It just shows what a great manager can do.”
Dutch defender was part of Town’s 1999/00 promotion side. Also involved in top-six finishes under Joe Royle in 03/04 and 04/05. Now playing for non-league side Leiston and coaching at Colchester United’s academy.
“There are a few tricky games left, but I think nine points could be enough. Even seven points would give them a slight chance.
“A push for the play-off places has been a long time coming. I can’t even remember the last time. Was it when I was playing?
“Mick McCarthy has worked wonders. He’s so experienced and always seems to get the best out of his players.
“I used to love this time of the season. It’s the people around you that get nervous, they are the ones constantly talking about it and reminding you how important it is. For the players – well for me anyway – it was more a feeling of excitement.”
Goals fired Ipswich to promotion in 1999/00 after switching from Huddersfield during the second half of campaign. Now a youth team coach at Bristol Rovers.
“Ipswich seem to be hitting form at just the right time and, should they sneak in there, that would stand them in really good stead for the play-offs. When you’ve been up there all season and just limp over the line you don’t want to face the team that’s just stormed into the top six.
“They probably need to win three and draw one. Adrenaline gets you through at this stage. I remember when I first signed for Ipswich, I started off ok, but got an injury and then was chasing my tail with regards fitness. Having something to aim for just drags you along though.
“Ipswich will always mean a lot to me and I hope they can get back in the Premier League.
“If they don’t make it this year then everything is in place to kick on and go for automatic promotion next year.
“I’ve worked under Mick McCarthy (at Sunderland) and he’s one of the best in the business.”
Academy product was part of the team that finally got promoted via Wembley glory following three failed play-off attempts. Now working in the media.
“I think they’ve got as good a chance as any of the teams still in it. There certainly isn’t a level of expectation on Ipswich’s shoulders, like there is at other clubs, so that could work in their favour. They’ll get great support as well so there are a lot of things going in their favour.
“Working out who is going to beat who is a complete waste of time.
“I really don’t think it matters who you play. The Championship is such an even league; the margins are paper thin.
“This club has been out of the top-flight for too long now really. A shot at promotion has certainly been a long time coming. It’s great to see Ipswich having something positive to play for at this stage of the season.”
Three spells at the clubs during the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Bona fide club legend won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup during the halcyon years and returned to help John Lyall’s side win second tier title. Still lives in Suffolk.
“We’ve got a great chance. If we win all four of our remaining games then I think we’re there. Ten points from a possible 12 would give us a chance too.
“The most difficult game, for me, is Burnley. They could be up by then, but are still one of the division’s best teams.
“Ipswich have definitely exceeded expectations this season. I wouldn’t have dreamed that the play-offs were possible in August, but Mick has done an incredible job.
“We’re not a team that’s going to beat people by three or four, but we’re hard-to-beat and never give up. That gives you a real chance.
“The fans really deserve this because they’ve waited a long time for something to shout about. The away support we get is incredible and I just hope we get a few more through the gate for the last two home games because it does make a difference.
“There’s a real buzz around the training ground. Everyone is really bubbly and that’s down to Mick (McCarthy), Terry (Connor) and the staff. It hasn’t always been that way.
“You need that spirit and togetherness to succeed. We had it in the teams I played for and it can take you a long way.
“It’s going to be tight, but I think we can do it.”