WE NEED TO KEEP TABBS ON RIVALS
Midfielder demands big match know-how
JAY TABB believes Ipswich Town are developing into a side ready to make a return to the Premier League provided they can defeat their fellow promotion hopefuls, starting with a visit to Wigan Athletic tomorrow.
After manager Mick McCarthy guided the Tractor Boys to safety in his first year in charge, a newlook side secured a promising ninth-place finish last season, laying the foundations for a play-off run this year.
A mixed start to this campaign appeared to have checked some of those ambitions before back-toback home victories over Millwall and Brighton got the Ipswich fans dreaming again.
Tabb believes those wins have created a sense of renewed belief around Portman Road that the club can begin reproducing such form away from home.
And the 30-year-old midfielder is confident the return of crucial players from injury and the arrival of Darren Ambrose for his third spell at the club will produce a healthy diversity within the squad.
“There’s definitely a lot of confidence in the camp after two wins in two home games, and it’s been a pretty solid start to the season,” said Tabb.
“Most of our performances have been good, we’re sitting just outside the play-offs but we do need to start beating those that are also challenging for promotion.
“We’ve got a solid squad with good competition for places in every position at the moment, and it’s great to have a different type of player for each position as well.
“It was a shame with Cameron Stewart and Stephen Hunt both being injured but they’re coming back now and they add something different to the team as well.
“Darren has had a great career and can pop up with a few goals from long-range, so I think the gaffer is happy with the way the squad is shaping up.”
After a hard-fought win through two late goals against Brighton on Tuesday, Tabb admitted he was grateful of the extra time to prepare for another tough challenge at the DW Stadium.
And with Ipswich facing Rotherham then Sheffield Wednesday in quick succession at the end of the month, Tabb urged his team-mates to make the most of some rare respite.
“I’m delighted with the game being on Monday to get a bit of extra rest,” he added.
“If we were playing on Saturday it would have been a rush to be ready again, but the manager gave us a day off to relax. The fixture list has worked out in our favour.
“We train hard and have a tough schedule ahead so if the manager gives you a day off you’ve got to make sure you use it and put your feet up.”
McCarthy himself admitted he was not initially thankful for the later fixture, but soon realised its necessity for his players after they reversed their early season fortunes.
And the Ipswich boss added he hopes his side has recovered sufficiently to avenge their 2-0 defeat at the same ground last year, despite having dominated possession.
“It’s nice to be going there after two clean sheets and six points but Wigan are a very good side, who just missed out on promotion,” said McCarthy.
“I wasn’t so bothered about the Monday night game but then we had a couple of days to relax, which is great for the lads.
“I’d settle for playing as well as we did there last year, but I would prefer a better result because we were all over them that day.”
MAKE JAY’S DAY: Winger Jay Tabb has told his Town team-mates to start beating their promotion rivals