Jon: We can't afford to slip down table

JONATHAN Walters looked ahead to tomorrow's game at Crystal Palace and said: “We cannot afford to slip down the table.”Despite a goal from Walters, Ipswich Town lost their proud unbeaten home Coca-Cola Championship 11-month record with a 2-1 defeat against top-of-the-table Watford at Portman Road on Saturday.

Elvin King

JONATHAN Walters looked ahead to tomorrow's game at Crystal Palace and said: “We cannot afford to slip down the table.”

Despite a goal from Walters, Ipswich Town lost their proud unbeaten home Coca-Cola Championship 11-month record with a 2-1 defeat against top-of-the-table Watford at Portman Road on Saturday.

“A defeat at Selhurst Park and there are so many teams just behind us that we could find ourselves around mid-table,” he continued.

“It is a massive game for us and one we have to win.

“We had a big test against Watford - and failed.

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“The same mustn't happen tomorrow or we could easily get sucked into mid-table.”

Despite just four wins in their last 14 league games, Town are remarkably still in a play-off place - and Walters says this must be retained.

Now Town's leading scorer with 11 goals, he went on: “I am confident we can end the season in the top six, but it means probably having to win nine of our remaining 15 matches.

“This will not be easy, but it is something we have to do - or we will be overtaken by a number of sides.”

Walters says that a top two automatic promotion place is still a possibility. “But we would have to stage a strong run,” he said.

“One team often moves up from mid-table, and we must look for it to be us.

“Our new players have bedded in well and added quality but it will take time for the manager to find his perfect team.

“On Saturday Danny Shittu cleared everything for Watford and we got drawn in to Watford's style of play.

“Alan Lee was a positive and along with Danny Haynes did very well when he came on.”

Reflecting on his goal that takes him one ahead of Lee and Pablo Counago, Walters said: “Jason De Vos told me to block off Shittu from the free-kick.

“He said he would then head the ball back into the middle.

“I was unable to tether Shittu, but Jason still got to the ball first, and after I stuck out a foot to get in a toe-poke the keeper appeared wrong-footed.

“It is nice to be leading scorer - and to score a striker's goal - and with three of us doing well it is the same as having two striker's on 15 goals apiece.”

Walters made no excuses about a Portman Road pitch that cut up and certainly did not help Town's passing game.

“The ground staff are doing the best they can, but it did cut up a bit.

“It was fairly bobbly but we cannot make that as an excuse.”

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