The moment has arrived – Ipswich Town’s biggest match in a decade

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: sarah lucy brown

Ipswich Town play their biggest match in a decade this lunchtime.

Avoid defeat at Blackburn in a televised clash (12.15pm, Sky Sports) and the Blues will take part in the Championship play-offs for the first time since 2005.

A game of such magnitude has been a long time coming, this the club’s 13th successive season in the second tier.

And the prospect of potentially facing East Anglian rivals Norwich City in a two-legged knock-out match – or maybe even in a showpiece final at Wembley – only adds extra excitement and anxiety to today’s proceedings.

With promotion to the Premier League now valued at least £140m, due to a bumper new television deal and increased parachute payments, the stakes are high.

Town are in the box-seat, but Derby, Brentford and Wolves are all still in a four-way battle for the fifth and sixth spots that remain up for grabs heading into the final day of the regular season.

“This is the biggest game for the club in 10 years,” said Town skipper Luke Chambers.

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“The fans have been through the tough times and the seasons where this club is playing for nothing.

“It’s up to us, as players, to put this club back on the map, which I feel we have done this season. We’ve been up the top end of the league and had lots of TV games (today the 11th time in 49 outings).

“We know how much this means to everybody. It means just as much to us and we’ll do everything we can to get the job done.”

The success of Ipswich’s low-budget, hard-working, all-round good bunch of guys has really captured the imagination, with everyone, from diehard supporters to those with only a casual interest, talking excitedly about the possible permutations of the next few weeks.

Experienced boss Mick McCarthy has remained level-headed and as calm as ever though, insisting his close-knit squad – who fill him with immense pride due to the way they represent the club both on and off the pitch – will play the game and not the occasion today.

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates from Ewood Park.

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