Mid­fielder de­mands big match know-how

The Football League Paper - - GOOD BAD & UGLY: GLEN LITTLE - By Jack Skel­ton

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

MAKE JAY’S DAY: Winger Jay Tabb has told his Town team-mates to start beat­ing their pro­mo­tion ri­vals

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