Sheepshanks' play-off revolution

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks has revealed he is in favour of a change to the current play-off system, to benefit the team that finishes third.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks has revealed he is in favour of a change to the current play-off system, to benefit the team that finishes third.

Town ended the season behind promoted sides Sunderland and Wigan, and lost over two legs to West Ham United, who finished three places behind them - and 12 points back - in sixth.

Speaking before the league conference in the midlands yesterday, Sheepshanks told the club website: “If I put any proposal forward, I could be accused of whingeing but I will try and curry favour on some sort of reward for the third-placed team.

“Crystal Palace made two proposals regarding the play-offs a few years ago, one saw third place benefiting from a new system, but it received little support.


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“I think there is a strong argument though for a system that sees the third-placed team going straight through to the final, with all the rewards that brings, and a combination of games involving fourth, fifth and sixth to decide the other finalist.”

Discarded Drissa Diallo, meanwhile, opened his heart yesterday on the injury problems he believes ended his Ipswich Town career.

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Speaking while back in Ipswich for a fleeting visit, the Guinea international defender confirmed that he would love to continue playing in English football.

He has already received offers from abroad, but the 32-year-old is biding his time and hoping he can carry on playing in the Championship.

“My record with Ipswich speaks for itself,” said the player who arrived at Portman Road two years ago on a free transfer from Burnley.

“Last season I played in every game prior to getting injured in December - and we lost just three times.

“If I had stayed fit all season I am sure I would still be an Ipswich player next season.”

Diallo's contract runs out at the end of this month and while he is on holiday in Tunisia his agent will be working to get him fixed up with a new club.

“I want to stay in England and am prepared to bide my time,” added Diallo, who appeared in 49 Town matches but failed to score a goal in a competitive game.

“It was very disappointing to be told that I was not required any more by Ipswich.

“A decision was made and in football you have to take it on the chin and get on with life.

“The manager paid a nice tribute to me that I appreciated and in some ways I am looking forward to a new challenge.”

Diallo, who played at right back last season after being mainly used as a central defender in 2003/04, damaged a knee in a collision with team-mate Georges Santos against Wimbledon at Portman Road in September 2003.

He came back the following January and after a good pre-season proved to be a regular until he damaged a hamstring last December.

This took a long time to heal and it was not until Town played Leeds United at Elland Road on April 23 that he made his comeback as a substitute.

He also came on in the final two Championship games against Crewe and Brighton and then started the play-off semi-final, first leg at West Ham.

Hammers' Matthew Etherington gave him the run-around as the home side went two goals up in quick-fire time.

Diallo, who was provided with little cover, was replaced by Matt Richards at the interval and sat on the bench for the second leg.

“I wish Ipswich all the best for the new season,” said Diallo.

“My time at Portman Road has been a very happy one. It is such a shame I suffered two long-term injuries or I am sure I would have enjoyed a longer stay.”

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