Town hope Palace win will start promotion push

IPSWICH Town will be hoping that history can repeat itself - in reverse - when they face Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.Six years ago the Eagles travelled to Portman Road on December 28 stranded in 20th place in the Championship and just four points off the 2003/4 relegation zone.

IPSWICH Town will be hoping that history can repeat itself - in reverse - when they face Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

Six years ago the Eagles travelled to Portman Road on December 28 stranded in 20th place in the Championship and just four points off the 2003/4 relegation zone.

However, a brace from striker Andy Johnson helped the Londoners to a fine 3-1 comeback win over the then fourth placed Ipswich and proved the catalyst for a monumental second half surge up the table.

Palace - having appointed Iain Dowie as manager just a week previous - went on to win 13 of their remaining 20 league games following that victory in Suffolk.

That record was enough to see Palace sneak into the final play-off spot come May and, with that momentum, they then went on to beat Sunderland in the semi-finals before securing promotion to the top-flight with a 1-0 win over West Ham at the Millennium Stadium.

Ipswich, meanwhile, ended the season in fifth and themselves lost out to the Hammers in the play-off semi-finals.

Most Read

Palace's late surge led, in hindsight, to Dowie coining the phrase 'bouncebackability', a word now fully embedded in the football world and, indeed, the Collins Dictionary.

Now, six years later almost to the day, the Eagles face Ipswich again - however this time it is Town that find themselves in a predicament in the lower reaches of the table and needing to display such resolve.

With a remarkably similar record to that which Palace had at this stage of the season back in 2003, Roy Keane's side are currently 21st in the Championship table, three points off the relegation zone and 13 points adrift of the play-offs.

And the Suffolk side know that an away victory, like the Eagles enjoyed at Portman Road six years ago, could well kick-start a rapid rise up the table.

Ipswich are unbeaten in 10 league games now - the form of a side that is more likely to be battling for promotion rather than against relegation. However, it is a run of wins, not draws, that the Blues require if they are to imitate Crystal Palace's success of 2003/4.

Ipswich Town have agreed to let defender Pim Balkestein extend his loan spell at Brentford. The 22-year-old Dutchman has made six appearances for the League One side and has impressed manager Andy Scott in that time. Balkestein will now stay at Griffin Park until January 17, although Ipswich will have a 24 hour recall option. Balkestein will not be able to play in Brentford's FA Cup third round tie.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter