Lee still believes Town can make it

STRIKER Alan Lee has some advice for Ipswich Town fans: “Don't book your holidays for May just yet.”The Tractor Boys picked up just two points from three crucial matches in eight days.

By Elvin King

STRIKER Alan Lee has some advice for Ipswich Town fans: “Don't book your holidays for May just yet.”

The Tractor Boys picked up just two points from three crucial matches in eight days.

But after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, Lee said: “We still have a chance of competing in the play-offs in May.

“It is too early to write us off, and we could easily have gained three points at Selhurst Park.

“We had the better chances, and there is reason to believe that referees might have a conspiracy against us.

Most Read

“I was going clear in the second half when the referee blew for a Palace free-kick after I had been pulled back.

“Why should I want to grab anyone when I was getting clear?

“We have not had the run of the ball in a run of tight games, and we will benefit from having a midweek rest.”

Lee ended the game suffering from cramp but was otherwise fine. He confirmed his keenness to get back into the Republic of Ireland senior squad, but added: “I would prefer to play in the Premiership with Ipswich.”

Town boss Joe Royle, who gave the most damning referees' report of his managerial career after Tuesday's 3-1 defeat at Preston, was - like Lee - bemused by Kevin Friend's performance on Saturday.

Royle said: “Yet again, we have

finished a game with ten men, and yet again we are puzzled.

“I have written to the head of referees as well as the League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association to complain about the standard of refereeing.

“Home fans were giving Ricardo Fuller a hard time, and in his frustration he stuck two fingers up at them. Along with Alan Lee he had been pulled and fouled all afternoon and I don't believe that it was a sending-off offence.

“We played the better football and, with a bit more luck and a few more decisions in our favour, we might have won it. On a pitch not conducive to good football I was delighted with the performance and it was more good experience for our young players, but we needed three points to be back in the shake-up.”

Palace boss Iain Dowie said: “I wish our pitch was like Portman Road. It was hard to play on Saturday, and some of my players were not quite at the level required.

“Ipswich are a good side, and they came to play football, and to gain a win.”

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