Harry backs Town to make play-offs
HARRY Redknapp today looked ahead to his Premiership-bound team's visit to Portman Road on Friday – and tipped Ipswich to make the play-offs.And Portsmouth boss Redknapp, nursing a sore head after last night's promotion party at Fratton Park, is expecting Town to join them in the Premiership next season.
By Mel Henderson
HARRY Redknapp today looked ahead to his Premiership-bound team's visit to Portman Road on Friday – and tipped Ipswich to make the play-offs.
And Portsmouth boss Redknapp, nursing a sore head after last night's promotion party at Fratton Park, is expecting Town to join them in the Premiership next season.
He said: "Not only do I think Ipswich will get into the play-offs, but when they get there they should be favourites to go up.
"Joe (Royle) has really got them going. They are bang in form and on a great run, even after having to sell players because of their financial problems.
"I have been tipping Ipswich for months now and I'm not changing my mind. We know it will be one of our hardest games all season when we come to Portman Road on Friday."
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Portsmouth secured promotion to the big-time for the first time in 15 years with last night's 1-0 home win over Burnley.
Redknapp added: "What we have done is unbelievable. I've got to be honest – at the start of the season I didn't think we would do it.
"We were 33-1 but I had loads of mates coming up to me and saying 'We've had a bet on you'.
"I was telling them not to waste their money and I suggested they should be backing Ipswich instead.
"What Joe has done since taking over doesn't surprise me one little bit. They impressed me when they came down to our place and they've been climbing the league ever since."
But now that promotion has been achieved, and the pressure relieved, Portsmouth want to pip rivals Leicester for the First Division title.
Redknapp admitted: "That would be great, but getting to the Premiership is a tremendous achievement in itself.
"There is a real scrap going on below us for the play-offs. I'm tipping Ipswich to do it, but they tell me they go to Derby on the last day.
"I'm pleased for George (Burley) that he's back and it's ironic that Ipswich go there on the last day. What a game that promises to be."
Ipswich boss Royle heard what Redknapp had to say and said: "Harry's fancied us from a long way back. He's one of a number of managers who have told me we're the best team they have played this season.
"But it doesn't change anything with regard to Friday's game. We've still got to go out and win it."
Along with assistant Willie Donachie, Royle checked on Portsmouth last night after reserve coach Steve McCall witnessed Saturday's shock home defeat by bottom club Sheffield Wednesday.
Royle said: "They were a bit nervous. You could see they were feeling the strain of needing that one win, but they were always going to get it."
The Town boss described the loss of defender John McGreal just 35 minutes into his comeback game last night as "a massive blow".
McGreal, who has made just two first team appearances this year, was stretchered off in Town's 1-1 draw with West Ham in a reserve game at Portman Road.
He has damaged the medial ligaments in his right knee and Royle said: "We won't know how bad it is until the swelling goes down and we are able to have it X-rayed and scanned.
"We have missed John this year. It's black and white – look at the league table and you will see we have conceded far too many goals.
"With John around the statistics wouldn't have been anywhere near as bad as they are."