Lose at Middlesbrough and we can forget automatic promotion, says Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy - Credit: Archant

Lose at Middlesbrough tomorrow and Ipswich Town can kiss goodbye to any automatic promotion hopes.

So says Blues boss Mick McCarthy ahead of the crunch fourth-versus-seventh clash at the Riverside Stadium (12.15pm ko, live on Sky Sports 1).

Town were second in the Championship table not so long ago, but a return of 11 points from a possible 30 – comfortably the worst form out of the top sides – has seen them drop out of the play-off places with 10 games to go.

Just eight points separates the top eight teams though, no-one having managed to run away with it and plenty of the leading pack still to face each other in what is shaping up to be the most nerve-wracking and exciting finish in recent years.

“We can affect things at the top or we could end up right out of it – that’s the picture we’ve got in front of us at the moment,” said McCarthy. “Our focus is to make sure we stay in the hunt.

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“We do that by making sure we don’t get beaten and we get something out of the games.

“Look, if we lost on Saturday and there are two teams eight points in front of us then we’re not going to be top two. We’re not going to win three more games than the teams at the top. I doubt that very much. That would take a huge effort and is unlikely.

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“It’s important that we stay in that pack and get back in the top six. And we’ll keep thinking about the top two until it’s impossible.”

Asked if he and his players talk about promotion, he replied: “All the time. At least be in the top six and the promotion shake-up – that’s been the talk from day one and nothing’s changed.

“I find it strange that anybody would think differently. We look at the papers, we know what position we’re in and if we don’t get anything at Middlesbrough it’s going to make it very tough for us.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for all the latest Ipswich Town news.

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