Chairman calls for unity ahead of game

IPSWICH Town go into one of their most important games for 20 years with club chairman David Sheepshanks calling for everybody to hold together.Defeat against Queens Park Rangers at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm) will make it six defeats on the trot for Town.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town go into one of their most important games for 20 years with club chairman David Sheepshanks calling for everybody to hold together.

Defeat against Queens Park Rangers at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm) will make it six defeats on the trot for Town.

And it will plunge them deeper into relegation trouble, and increase the nightmare of dropping down into the third tier of English football for the first time in 50 years.

Town are likely to be a bit nervy and edgy as they search for their first goal in more than nine hours of football. They may well require all the backing they can get to see off a QPR side below them in the Championship table.

Sheepshanks, who earlier this week confirmed his undoubted faith in manager Magilton exclusively to The Evening Star, said: “We have all got to believe and hold together.

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“Our fans may understandably be a bit jittery over our position in the table, and the QPR match is one where we can put some daylight between us and the bottom three.

“I spoke to a couple of frustrated supporters after our defeat at Southampton last Saturday, and I can understand they want to see better performances.

“With backing from the stands I am sure the team will respond.”

Ipswich will be seeking their second double of the campaign - Coventry was the first - after beating Rangers 3-1 in a televised match at Loftus Road last August.

QPR are three places below Town and with just three wins in their last 18 games, and one in the last nine.

Tomorrow's match is a massive one, and the first of three crunch Town games inside eight days. They have a trip to Hull on Tuesday and a home game with Southend next Saturday.

Ipswich, who have lost their last three games 1-0, must step up a gear against a QPR side that drew 2-2 at Portman Road last season - late substitute Danny Haynes netting a 90th minute Town equaliser.

While Magilton's position is secure, Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini has said that manager John Gregory's future is also safe even if the Londoners are relegated.

Gregory's current deal at Loftus Road expires at the end of the season, but Paladini insists Gregory will be offered a new two-year contract.

Paladini said: “A new contract is already agreed and drawn up. Whether we stay up or go down, we want John to stay as manager.

“I have known John for a long time, I have total confidence in him and it is up to him which players he wants to bring in.”

Gregory said: “Until we are mathematically safe, we will continue to keep our heads down and keep looking at the league table.

“Being where we are is not very pleasant. I am aware of where we are, and what we need to do to get out of trouble.”

Goalkeeper Lee Camp is on loan from Derby, and Michael Mancienne and Jimmy Smith from Chelsea.

Tomorrow's likely squads

Ipswich Town: Price, Wright, De Vos, Bruce, Harding, Peters, Legwinski, Garvan, Roberts, Walters, Haynes, Lee, O'Callaghan, Richards, Clarke, Casement, Sito, Supple.

QPR: Camp, Cole, Mancienne, Cullip, Stewart, Timoska, Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Rowlands, Cook, Blackstock, Furlong, Kanyuka, Ray Jones, Smith, Moore.

Referee: Mr RL Lewis (Shropshire).

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