Town ready for take-off
DETERMINED Ipswich Town players are prepared to pay for their own flights in a bid to reach the dizzy heights of the Premiership.The Blues' stars were so upset at the way they lost at Sunderland, after a six-hour coach journey, they want to make sure there is no repeat at Plymouth, which is a 700-mile round trip and would take seven hours one way by bus, without any hold- ups.
By Derek Davis
DETERMINED Ipswich Town players are prepared to pay for their own flights in a bid to reach the dizzy heights of the Premiership.
The Blues' stars were so upset at the way they lost at Sunderland, after a six-hour coach journey, they want to make sure there is no repeat at Plymouth, which is a 700-mile round trip and would take seven hours one way by bus, without any hold- ups.
Ipswich defender Jason De Vos revealed to the EADT that he and his team-mates would dip into their own pockets for a chartered flight to ensure they meet Argyle, on Bank Holiday Monday, January 3, fully refreshed.
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De Vos said: “It is a long, long, way and I would certainly chip in. Skipper Jim Magilton has said we have a fantastic opportunity to get in the Premier League and he is right. I don't think we should let any little thing stand in our way.
“We should be as professional as we can about everything and, if finances at the club are that tight, then I'm sure all the players would be more than happy to pay for the flight because, at the end of it, we are only helping ourselves.
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“It takes a lot out of you to spend that much time on a coach.
“Last year, when I was at Wigan, we flew to Gillingham on the Monday night for a Tuesday game because we had already had an away game on the Saturday, but that time Mr Whelan paid and it worked because we won.”
Getting beaten 2-0 at Sunderland last month, even in the former Liverpool coach, leased to replace the custom-built Blues coach which the manager considered too cramped, upset the players.
They are not offering the 12-hour round trip as an excuse for the performance, but they want to ensure there is no repeat, or excuse, in the future.
De Vos said: “The Sunderland game was horrible for us to play in. It wasn't going right for us, they were playing better than us and we could not pull our socks up and get in the game.
“What made it worse was that we had so many great fans who travelled all that way and we felt we had let them down.
“As we sat on the bus going home we said, in hindsight, we should have flown, and paid for the tickets off our own backs.
“It would have helped our own preparation that bit more. I'm not saying we would have won, but you never know.
“It was six hours on a bus to get there and, even though we stayed overnight, that took a lot out of us. The travel does have an effect on you.
“If we had won there would have been no big deal, but we didn't, and we didn't play well.
“You can never accept losing but can accept losing in a certain way. If we had played well and were just beaten by a better team on the day you put your hands up and accept it, but when you have not performed that is different, and those three points could be crucial come the end of the season.”
After Saturday's relatively short trip to QPR, Town face a gruelling five games in 12 days, starting with Wigan on Tuesday, December 21 and culminating in the trip to south Devon, with Millwall, West Ham and Stoke in between.
The Canadian captain sees it as an ideal opportunity for second-placed Town to pull away from the chasing pack, or it could wreck their promotion dream.
He said: “ “The period is a good one, in as much as it sorts out the pretenders from the contenders.
“If you are going to be genuine promotion candidates you have to get through that Christmas and New Year period and still be in touch with the leaders.
“With five games in 12 days, if you lose four of them, you could easily find yourselves a dozen points adrift and the gap would be too big.
“It is going to be tough schedule but then, if it was easy, everyone could do it.”
The free-signing from Wigan, where he captained their promotion-winning side, is concerned injuries and suspension could affect Town, so they need to pace themselves from now on.
He said: “We have been lucky, because we have only had one game a week recently, so we have been able to get on the training ground and get work done and get into an almost normal routine.
“Once Christmas comes, though, that is all out of the window, because we have so many games. Especially with the size of the squad we have, it is crazy, so you really will be wrapping yourselves up in cotton wool to make sure you are okay to play.”
n Triallist Daryl Murphy has returned to Waterford United after picking up a groin injury while training with Ipswich Town.