Gradi fires warning to Blues

DEFIANT Crewe boss Dario Gradi, today warned Ipswich: “Don't write us off!”Gradi brings his relegation-haunted team to Ipswich on Saturday. Crewe have upset Town's promotion plans before, when they won 2-1 at Portman Road in April 1999, and their long-serving boss believes they can do it again.

DEFIANT Crewe boss Dario Gradi, today warned Ipswich: “Don't write us off!”

Gradi brings his relegation-haunted team to Ipswich on Saturday.

Crewe have upset Town's promotion plans before, when they won 2-1 at Portman Road in April 1999, and their long-serving boss believes they can do it again.

Gradi, who has been in charge for 22 years, has seen his side fail to win any of their last 19 games, a depressing run that has left them on the brink of going down.

But he insisted: “We certainly have nothing to fear, especially if we can play our controlled football like we did in the first half against Stoke.”

Crewe were beaten 2-0 at home by the Potters on Saturday, but the game was heading for a goalless stalemate until the visitors struck twice in the last 11 minutes.

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Gradi added: “It is a very hard league for us and they don't come any harder than Ipswich away, but we will go there, give it a real go and play our football.

“We will certainly need a rub of the green and we are due some too, because we haven't been getting much luck in recent games.

“It will be a proper football match against Ipswich because they like to get the ball down and play, and we are the same.

“It is always a terrific pitch at Portman Road, so we should also enjoy that.

“We have got to try and play like we did in the first half against Stoke. We got the ball down and played through midfield, and got the ball to our full-backs.

“The players did everything we had asked of them in the first half on Saturday but, fingers crossed, we can take our chances better if they come.”

But Crewe's cause will not be helped by the likely absence of central defenders Colin Murdock and Chris McCready.

Teenager Billy Jones is likely to reclaim a place in Gradi's side along with the experienced Adie Moses, but striker Steve Jones remains a doubt.

In the corresponding fixture at Gresty Road in December two Dean Ashton goals saw Town trail at the interval, but they hit back twice in the second half to earn a point

Gradi added: “Of course, Ipswich are hot favourites because of where they are in the league and rightly so.

“They are going for automatic promotion and are expected to win the game, but we will go there knowing we still have a chance.

“If we can go there and draw it would be a very good result. If we can win it would be a magnificent result - and we have done it before.”

Ipswich's promotion rivals, Wigan, are in action at Preston on Saturday and, since that game starts at 12.15pm, they will know exactly what is required against Crewe.

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