Johnno: Pablo can fire Town to glory

DAVID Johnson, the former goal king of Portman Road, today hailed his successor.Johnno – now with Nationwide League First Division rivals Nottingham Forest – is convinced Spanish strike star Pablo Counago will rule Portman Road and lead Ipswich Town back to their glory days.

DAVID Johnson, the former goal king of Portman Road, today hailed his successor.

Johnno – now with Nationwide League First Division rivals Nottingham Forest – is convinced Spanish strike star Pablo Counago will rule Portman Road and lead Ipswich Town back to their glory days.

Currently out of action with a broken leg, the striker who played such an important part when Ipswich last won promotion to the Premiership, feels his former club can hit the big time again with the return of 24-year-old Counago.

Johnson watched Town's 1-1 draw at the City Ground last night as Joe Royle's Blues moved up to fourth place and extended their impressive league run to just one defeat in their last 11 games. Kelvin Davis was the Ipswich star with a succession of sparkling saves, but in an end-to-end classic the visitors had enough chances to have returned to Suffolk with three points.


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And Johnson felt Ipswich would have won with leading scorer Counago in their side.

He said: "I am big fan of Pablo and like the way he plays. He makes life difficult for defenders with his twists and turns and he knows where the back of the net is.

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"Ipswich would have scored another goal at least if he had been playing. Pablo has found the net frequently this season and when he is back in harness I am sure that Ipswich will get a lift, continue their high-scoring games and carry on collecting points."

Johnson suffered his injury on September 13, which has coincided with a drop down the table for Forest.

And he acknowledges that Ipswich were superior in some departments last night.

Johnson added: "Ipswich looked two games ahead of us in confidence. We huffed and puffed and Kelvin Davis made good saves, but there was a quality about Ipswich's play.

"It was the best First Division match I have seen for a long, long time and there is no doubting the skill in what has become a Joe Royle side.

"The manager has instilled his own brand into the team and he must be very pleased with the way it is functioning.

Johnson is progressing well although it may be some time before he returns to the side. He said: "I don't really know when I will be back, but things are moving in the right direction."

Johnson, who scored 62 goals in a total of 158 Ipswich appearances between November 1997 and January 2001, spent last night's game acting as summariser for a Nottingham radio station.

Ipswich entertain George Burley's Derby County on Saturday with a doubt over Fabian Wilnis who pulled up with a hamstring problem towards the end.

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