Naylor hoping poor cup run will change

ONLY once in Richard Naylor's 14 years with Ipswich Town have they been involved in anything like a decent cup run.

Derek Davis

ONLY once in Richard Naylor's 14 years with Ipswich Town have they been involved in anything like a decent cup run.

That came in the 2000/01 season when George Burley's Blues reached the semi-final of the League Cup only to miss out to Birmingham City.

What made it worse was town had a superb side that was to finish fifth in the Premiership and had beaten City 1-0 in the first leg before going down 4-1 on a quagmire of a St Andrews pitch after being psyched out.

Naylor recalls how close they came that year and still harbours ambition of playing in a cup final.

He said: “It still rankles that we never got to the final. It was especially hard to take because Birmingham were not a better team than us so we look back and think - what if?

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“But you can't get hung up about it because all the time you are still playing you have a chance of another run and of winning a cup.”

Town started that cup run with a 5-2 aggregate win over Millwall, after losing 2-0 at the New Den and then went on to beat Arsenal, Coventry and Manchester City.

They have not fared so well ever since, a fourth round appearance before losing to Liverpool was the best, before going out to Notts County, Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil, Peterborough and the MK Dons, over the past five years.

Club captain Naylor appreciates Martin Ling's Leyton Orient could be another banana skin but knows how vital a good cup run is to the fans and the club.

He said: “A cup run would be nice. It would lift the place and from a revenue point of view it would be brilliant.

“Championship teams have shown you can have a good cup run and get to finals.

“Lower league teams can make it difficult. It won't be easy against Leyton Orient because it is like a cup final for them too.”

The O's got their League One campaign off to a good start with a 2-1 home win over Hereford on Saturday and will be looking to cause an upset as Town hope their home form doesn't go the way of their away results,

Naylor believes Ipswich will not only get a cup run going but sort out the difficulties they found on the road last year.

Naylor said: “We have not focused on the way from home thing but we have tried to address the reasons why we were different on away. We have worked on deficiencies and some of those deficiencies contributed to us getting beat away from home.

“We have many players who like to play the ball and enjoy knocking it about but away from home it is not always as easy as that and away sometimes you need to dig in and scrap a bit more.

“The gaffer has addressed that with the people he has brought in.”

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