Marshall's motivation

THERE may be a play off place at stake and possibly the Premiership but Andy Marshall has another motivational factor driving him on as Ipswich look to win their final five games of the regular season.

THERE may be a play off place at stake and possibly the Premiership but Andy Marshall has another motivational factor driving him on as Ipswich look to win their final five games of the regular season.

"We have to finish higher than Norwich City," said the former Canary, writes Derek Davis.

The City fans were merciless in their abuse of their former hero but Marshall had the last laugh when Fabian Wilnis opened the scoring and a Darren Bent added another late on to clinch a 2-0 victory.

Those goals help separate the two clubs who are on level points as they challenge Wolves, and possibly Reading and Nottingham Forest for a play-off place.

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Marshall is relishing the challenge of overhauling Wolves, who travel to Nottingham Forest tonight, and going more than one better than Town's East Anglian rivals.

He said: "It is going to be a tight but terrific end to the season. It is so close. All the teams involved are playing each so points will be dropped. All we have to do is concentrate on winning all our five games.

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"That will give us 76 points, ad hopefully that should be enough, certainly enough to finish higher than Norwich. If we can't reach the play offs, and everyone of us still thinks we can, then the next best thing would be to finish higher than Norwich."

The Town keeper stays in touch with a couple of the City players, in particular Robert Green whose spectacular gaffe at pride Park cost Norwich dear as George Burley helped Derby to their first win in 10 games, denting Canary hopes.

Marshall revealed how Green pre-empted his Micky-taking by texting him as soon as he was out of the Pride Park dressing room.

Marshall laughed: "He wanted to get his retaliation in early and had left a message on the phone which I didn't get until I was on my way home last Saturday. Because I had not seen it I didn't know what he was on about. Then I watched it on Sunday and laughed myself silly.

"I've spoken to him and in fairness he has had a great season, a great two years in fact, and has been brilliant for Norwich.

"He has had a couple of blips before but this was the first real howler of his career and I said it is about how he reacts now and I know him well enough to know he will get over it."

The former England Under-21 international would have enjoyed the call more if Town had been more successful themselves last Saturday.

He admits: "That was a big loss for us and extremely disappointing personally. To concede four goals and then for us to see the other results come in showed just what might have been if we had won.

"It would have put a different complexion of things and pit a lot more pressure on Wolves and the others."

Marshall, who will be 28 on Monday, has taken more than his fair share of stick this season with a dip in form and twice being dropped in favour of on loan Paul Gerrard from Everton and then James Pullen, who suffered an ill-fated league debut himself.

He said: "We had a desperately poor start to the season then Joe has come in and changed things around.

"Then Jez (Paul Gerrard) came in and I was just talking knocks so it was hard for me, but then since the Norwich game I have not looked back really. You look back now and wonder what it would have been like if we had got the season off to a better start.

"I know how hard I have worked to get things right and so when something goes wrong on the weekend it really hurts. For me I'm still determined for us to get in the play-offs and then kick on. I'm already looking forward to a good full season next year."

And finishing at least one better than Norwich.

Remaining fixtures

Ipswich Town: (h) April 12 Coventry City (a) April 18 Portsmouth (h) April 21 Rotherham (a) April 26 Wimbledon (h) May 4 Derby County (a)

Norwich City: April 12 Burnley (h) April 19 Walsall (a) April 21 Wolves (h) April 27 Leicester City (a) May 4 Preston (h)

Wolverhampton Wanderers: April 11 Forest (a) April 19 Millwall (h) April 21 Norwich (a) April 26 Sheffield United (a) May 4 Leicester City (h)

Reading: April 15 Preston (h) April 18 Forest (h) April 21 Portsmouth (a) April 26 Grimsby (h) April 30 Watford (a) May 4 Stoke (a)

Nottingham Forest: April 11 Wolves (h) April 15 Sheffield United (a) April 18 Reading (a) April 21 Burnley (h) April 26 Millwall (h) May 4 Rotherham (a)

Sheffield United: April 15 Forest (h) April 19 Preston (a) April 21 Leicester City (h) April 26 Wolves (h) April 29 Bradford City (h) May 4 Watford (a)

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