Makin set to go through agony

CHRIS Makin will put himself through purgatory today watching his Ipswich Town team-mates trying to reach the play-off final, writes Derek Davis.The Manchester-born defender has been reduced to a spectator since September after a hip injury, ironically sustained in the home game against West Ham, wrecked his season.

CHRIS Makin will put himself through purgatory today watching his Ipswich Town team-mates trying to reach the play-off final, writes Derek Davis.

The Manchester-born defender has been reduced to a spectator since September after a hip injury, ironically sustained in the home game against West Ham, wrecked his season.

As a Manchester United supporter, and after spells with Marseilles and Sunderland, Makin has had a lot of personal interest in a few teams' progress this year, but he has taken an almost masochistic pleasure in turning up to Portman Road every other week.

He admitted: "I have been watching all different games as that is all I have been able to do.


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"I have found it really hard to watch Ipswich this year. Some games I have been okay but most of the time I have been a bit jealous and it has been hard.

"While you want the lads to do well and be promoted, you want to be out there doing it yourself."

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Makin would have loved the opportunity to be out on the lush Portman Road pitch today but has mixed feeling about his last play-off experience when he played in the absolute epic between Sunderland and Charlton, which finished 4-4 and went to penalties before the Addicks won through due to a missed Michael Gray penalty.

Makin purred: "It was like a five-a-side, they scored, we scored, then extra time and penalties – even the penalties went on and on.

"It was superb to play in. The atmosphere was fantastic, a great occasion just the result went wrong."

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise with Peter Reid making important additions for the following season when they went up automatically.

Makin said: "If Sunderland had gone up in 1998 we would have come straight down. We weren't strong enough, we were a very good attacking side but we conceded quite a few. I was injured a lot that season as well so we had an inexperienced back four.

"When we did get promoted we had made a couple of good signings and were ready.

"It is even harder now, at least then you had a chance of staying up but now the gulf is so wide with the money situation it is almost impossible to stay up.

"Saying that, the league has been very poor this year, no one has blown the league away and you can see how the finances have taken their toll on the Nationwide League."

His former club finished third behind Norwich City and West Brom, and Makin is impressed with how Mick McCarthy has managed the situation he inherited.

He said: "Mick McCarthy has done well, he has turned them around after the nightmare they had last year when they finished bottom and with the record low amount of points.

"Confidence was rock bottom and then they couldn't win at the start of the season. But he has brought in a lot of young lads from when I was there, they have come up from the reserves. He also has a few experienced pros so it is a good mix."

So as something of an armchair pundit at the moment, who does the 31-year-old fancy to make up the promoted trio?

He said: "We are all so even I would not like to predict on anyone.

"If Palace had won at Coventry I would have fancied them as the form team but now it is still so even anyone of us could go up."

It's probably a good job he is close to getting back playing again after an operation to repair a cartilage tear in the hip was successful.

He said: "I'm feeling good and taking my time. The surgeon was happy that he had found the tear and now I'm 100% confident that I have got it beat and I will be back.

"I have got all summer to get fit and be ready for pre-season – wherever that may be and with whoever.

"It would be unbelievable if it were the Premiership with Ipswich."

At least that would end the agony of having to watch for the defender, who is out of contract in the summer but is strongly tipped to be among those offered a new deal at the end of this month.

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