Chairman rules out shopping spree

IPSWICH chairman David Sheepshanks today ruled out a last-minute transfer boost to the Blues' promotion drive.Town have slipped out of the top two in the Coca-Cola Championship table after a poor recent spell.

IPSWICH chairman David Sheepshanks today ruled out a last-minute transfer boost to the Blues' promotion drive.

Town have slipped out of the top two in the Coca-Cola Championship table after a poor recent spell.

Sheepshanks (pictured) insists Joe Royle's men can still clinch an automatic return to the Premiership, but he admits funds are unlikely to be made available for fresh faces.

The Football League transfer deadline is 5pm on Thursday.


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Sheepshanks said: “We rowed the boat out financially to bring in David Unsworth and James Scowcroft.

“Things are still tight financially and it is unlikely that we will be able to do any more.

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“We have a strong squad with alternatives in every position and I believe we have what it takes to clinch promotion to the Premiership.”

In six of their last seven league matches, Town have managed just a paltry three goals and two of those have come from the penalty spot.

These important half a dozen contests have produced just five points as Ipswich have slipped from five points clear at the top of the table to five points adrift of present leaders Sunderland.

In Saturday's 0-0 draw at Gillingham - Town's first goalless encounter since they met Millwall at The Den in December 2003 - rookie home keeper Jason Brown was not seriously tested.

Take away the 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on March 12 and Ipswich's shot-shy strikers and midfield players have lost their way.

And the division's second highest scorers must re-discover their shooting boots, starting with the home games against Derby and Rotherham on April 2 and 5.

“We have two huge matches coming up at Portman Road after Easter when we can make up ground on Wigan and Sunderland who have to meet each other,” added Sheepshanks, who watched as Kelvin Davis pulled off two splendid saves to preserve a point in the sunshine at Gillingham.

“The pitch was a leveller and facing a Gillingham side on a good run was not an easy proposition.

“They made it hard for us and we have to be grateful to Nottingham Forest for holding Wigan.”

Sheepshanks stressed that all efforts are being concentrated on a top two finish, but he feels the side is capable of winning the play-offs if they are headed by both Sunderland and Wigan at the end of the season.

“We should stop talking about any fear or dislike of the play-offs,” said the chairman, who has led Ipswich Town to the heights of the Premiership and the lows of relegation and administration over the last five years.

“Our players will benefit from their experience in the play-offs last May, and we finished third in 1999-2000 and went on to beat Barnsley at Wembley Stadium in the play-off final.”

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