Tommy Smith: Ipswich Town can get back in play-off race
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Tommy Smith has insisted Ipswich can still make the Championship play-offs despite Tuesday night’s defeat by Fulham, leaving them seven points off the top six, writes Andy Warren.
The Blues were 1-0 up at Craven Cottage after Joe Garner’s brave header, but a red card for Jordan Spence led to a capitulation which saw the visitors concede four goals in seven minutes to fall to defeat.
Smith insisted he and his team-mates still believe they can play a major part in the promotion race, but admitted the Blues need to get their injured stars back on the field as soon as possible if they are to close the gap.
“It’s always achievable because this league is crazy, as everybody knows,” Smith said.
“All we need to do now is get back on it, get a run of results going and we can get right back on it.
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“We’ve got the basis there of a very good team and a play-off challenging team.
“We need to get some players back fit and on the pitch. We’re down to the bare bones a little now but every player that’s in there is a good player.
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“Hopefully those players can drip back in and strengthen the squad.”
Smith started at Craven Cottage due to the Achilles injury picked up by Adam Webster in Saturday’s defeat by Derby, with the New Zealander delighted to be making just his third appearance of a campaign disrupted by hamstring and calf problems.
“I’m delighted to be back out there and I was enjoying it, up until the 54th minute,” he said.
“I’ve been out of the fold a little while so it’s great to get some minutes under my belt and playing the full 90 is going to be really good for me going forward.
“I had to get myself fit again and then, while I was out, Chambo and Webby (Luke Chambers and Adam Webster) had been doing a solid job. So it was a case of me biding my time.
“I had to wait for my chance. Now’s that time and any time I’m called upon the gaffer knows what I can do and I will look to do a job for my team.
“Adam’s injury is unfortunate and you never want to see team-mates injured but it gives me an opportunity and I will look to grasp that.”
Next up for the Blues is an FA Cup clash with Sheffield United and, while manager Mick McCarthy has yet to indicate just how strong an Ipswich side will face the Blades, Smith believes injury may force his manager’s hand.
“We’ve had no indication as of yet but it’s a case of assessing the fitness of the squad and seeing who we have available,” Smith said.
“Players are dwindling by the day, sadly and we have another one now with Jordan out for three games suspended.
“I’m pretty sure we will have to play a strong team because there are no other real options. Hopefully we can get a good result on Saturday which can kick-start our league form.”