Osman insists Ipswich Town should not be written off yet

Russell Osman at Portman Road, Ipswich

Russell Osman at Portman Road, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Don’t write Ipswich Town off just yet, the Championship promotion race is likely to go right down to the wire yet again.

So says former Blues and England defender Russell Osman after another weekend of twists and turns in English football’s ever unpredictable second tier.

Town weren’t in action on Saturday due to the fact that their scheduled opponents, Blackburn, were in FA Cup action. Mick McCarthy’s men dropped to ninth in the standings after the usual mixed bag of results.

Derby ended an eight-game winless streak with a come-from-behind victory at Brentford, while Burnley kept up their impressive form with a hard-fought home win over Rotherham.

Brighton suffered a 4-1 loss at promotion dark horses Cardiff though, while Sheffield Wednesday’s gathering momentum took a mighty blow with a 1-0 loss at Preston.

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It means that Town are five points adrift of the play-off places, with a game in hand on many, heading into their final 15 matches – starting with tomorrow night’s visit of table-toppers Hull City to Portman Road (7.45pm ko).

“I was involved with the radio commentary for Ipswich’s (2-1) defeat at Bristol City recently and it’s fair to say they didn’t have the best of days,” said Osman, who made close to 300 appearances for Town in the halcyon days of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

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“There are several key players out injured at the moment and it was hard for a couple of the new ones, the likes of Ben Pringle and Kevin Foley, to hit the ground running.

“The team just didn’t seem at it, which is unlike a Mick McCarthy side, but I still think that, despite all the problems, they’ll give it a really good go.

“There is still 15 games to go and still a lot of points left to play for. No-one should be writing off the play-offs just yet. We should be banging the drum and getting behind the team.

“Everyone else up at the top end of the table will be feeling the nerves too and it only takes a few wins to put you right back up there.”

Hull boss Steve Bruce made 10 changes to his team for their goalless draw at Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday ahead of his side’s trip to Portman Road. Tomorrow, Town will be looking to make it 17 successive home victories on a Tuesday night.

Osman added: “I know fans are frustrated. But listen, Mick McCarthy has won this division twice and he knows what he is doing.

“If he can get some of his best players back in time for the run-in, and gets a little bit of luck along the way, the top-six is still within reach.”

Promotion race analysis – Pages 62/63

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