Town fans resigned to mid-table finish

OPTIMISIM among Ipswich Town supporters for next season is at a worrying low.After two bottom half finishes in the Coca-Cola Championship under first Joe Royle and then Jim Magilton, a survey suggests that expectations are no higher this time around.

By Elvin King

OPTIMISIM among Ipswich Town supporters for next season is at a worrying low.

After two bottom half finishes in the Coca-Cola Championship under first Joe Royle and then Jim Magilton, a survey suggests that expectations are no higher this time around.

Blues fans appear to have little hope that Ipswich can mount a Premiership challenge, and expectations are lower among the Tractor Boys faithful than they are at homely neighbours Colchester United.


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And to add to a pessimistic approach to the 2007/08 campaign for Town followers, Norwich City fans are expecting the Canaries to finish in a play-off position.

Almost 6,000 fans have responded to a survey across all 92 league clubs organised by Barclaycard.

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And the Ipswich contingent have not been encouraged by what has taken place at Portman Road since the end of last season when the Blues finished in 14th place.

Despite hopes of adding England internationals Francis Jeffers and Richard Wright to his squad, Magilton has brought in free signings Neil Alexander, Tommy Miller and Pablo Counago.

Keeper Lewis Price and midfielder Darren Currie have been the major departures.

Ipswich have a strong fan base and despite disappointing results over the last few campaigns season ticket sales have again reached acceptable levels - with close-on 15,000 confirmed for 2007/08.

And Magilton has been working hard to accrue a squad capable of making a promotion challenge - and also to gain the maximum from what he has at his disposal.

He brought his players back early after their summer break and has adopted a new approach to pre-season training.

Magilton will be determined to prove the doubters wrong.

Fans still have a chance to add their thoughts to the survey at www.barclaycard.co.uk/football. Run in partnership with independent research body the Football Fans Census final results of the survey will be available prior to the start of the season.

The negative nature of Town's fans feeling towards 2007/08 is shown in the following current survey table with Wolves, Sheffield United and Watford fans the most positive about their clubs' hopes:

Championship - Wolves, Sheffield United, Watford, Charlton Athletic, Leicester City, Norwich City, Plymouth Argyle, Burnley, Blackpool, Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Preston North End, Coventry City, Colchester United, WBA, Ipswich Town, Southampton, Bristol City, Hull City, Stoke City, Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Scunthorpe United.

In the Premiership, Manchester United are top of the survey followed by Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Portsmouth. Arsenal are 12th with Derby, Fulham and Bolton filling the bottom three places.

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