Jason: I want to play against the best

JASON De Vos is just days away from realising a nine-year dream.The experienced defender is clinging to the hope that Ipswich will claim automatic promotion to the Premiership.

JASON De Vos is just days away from realising a nine-year dream.

The experienced defender is clinging to the hope that Ipswich will claim automatic promotion to the Premiership.

But if his former club Wigan pip Town to go straight up, at least the 31-year-old Canadian will be grateful for the play-offs he so cruelly missed out on last year.

He said: “When I came to England in 1996 I started out with Darlington in the bottom division, but my ambition was to play in the Premiership.

“I have managed to work my way up the ladder but I want to take that final step and test myself against the best.”

De Vos appreciates the irony of his current situation, with Wigan two points better off than Ipswich and favourites to join Sunderland in being automatically promoted.

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He said: “All we can do is concentrate on winning our last two games of the season and see where it takes us.

“If Wigan slip up in either of their remaining games we have to be ready to take advantage.

“If they don't and we end up in the play-offs we will just have to get on with it. At least it will give us a second chance.”

That opportunity was denied De Vos last year, when West Ham striker Brian Deane equalised in the last minute of the last game at the JJB Stadium.

It meant that Wigan missed out and the Hammers went on to KO Town in the play-offs.

De Vos recalled: “It was a devastating experience. We had worked so hard in our first season after being promoted from the Second Division and it was a real blow for everyone.

“It's crunch time all over again now and we want automatic promotion. Anything less than two wins won't be sufficient and even if we get maximum points it might not be enough.

“I've spoken to one or two of my old pals at Wigan and they were saying how they wished we had dropped a few more points, rather than pestering them by staying on their tail.”

De Vos is the first to admit Ipswich's recent form, which has earned them just four wins from their last 12 league outings, has been inconsistent.

He added: “We've been a bit hit and miss, and we certainly haven't been playing our best football week in, week out. We have tended to grind out the results to keep ourselves in with a chance.

“But I'd rather have our two games than Wigan's. There are no easy games, but it must be preferable to meet two teams in the relegation zone than two who are going for promotion.

“Crewe know they must try to get something from us at Portman Road, so they won't be like a lot of teams who have just sat back and defended to frustrate us.”

One bonus for De Vos is that his two-week-old son, Jake, has not given him any sleepless nights.

The Town defender said: “The little man has been brilliant. He eats like a horse and sleeps well.

“My wife knows how important it is to get enough rest and I was even prepared to go and stay in an hotel, but it hasn't been necessary.

“We planned to have Jake to coincide with the off season and hopefully that will start next week after we go to Brighton.”

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