'Those two clubs show it can be done' - Holland says Ipswich can punch above their weight
PUBLISHED: 13:02 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:25 11 June 2018
Ipswich favourite Matt Holland believes his former club can take inspiration from Cardiff and Millwall's success last season to punch above their weight in the Championship.
The appointment of Paul Hurst as Mick McCarthy’s successor has provided some cause for optimism ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, as the Blues look to improve on last season’s 12th-placed finish, although many bookmakers are already predicting a season of struggle for Ipswich.
But Holland, who played 313 times for Town between 1997 and 2003 and captained the Blues in the Premier League, says Ipswich must look to emulate the examples set by last season’s runners-up Cardiff and surprise package Millwall, who narrowly missed out on the top six.
Speaking at Football Whispers’ annual event at Stadium mk, the former midfielder said: “It’s hard where they are right now.
“Their budget is probably one of the lowest in the Championship right now but they’re the longest-serving team in that division without going up or down; they’ve been in it for a number of years now – it’s pretty tough.
“Unless you spend big money, like Wolves have done, or get on a bit of run, you will struggle. Look at this year, there are one or two teams who punched above their weight. Cardiff spring to mind and Millwall are another one; those two clubs to do what they’ve done this season shows that it can be done.”
Holland believes former Town boss McCarthy, who managed him with the Republic of Ireland, deserves more credit than he got during his time with the club which ended in acrimonious circumstances.
“When he first went into the club it was a dire situation and he kept them in the division which was important at the time,” Holland explained.
“He knocked on the door of getting into the Premier League because he got into the play-offs, unfortunately losing to Norwich on that occasion.
“In the last 18 months to two years maybe it’s turned a little bit sour there with the relationship between him and the supporters, which has been unfortunate because if you look back at what he’s done for the club he’s done a terrific job on a limited budget.
“It won’t surprise me to see him back in the hot-seat very soon, that’s for sure.”
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