Rich eyes promotion jackpot

THEIR midweek defeat may have proved costly, but Richard Naylor today insisted that Ipswich remain on course to hit the jackpot.The long-serving defender said: “The most important thing is promotion - and the real pot of gold is the Premiership.

THEIR midweek defeat may have proved costly, but Richard Naylor today insisted that Ipswich remain on course to hit the jackpot.

The long-serving defender said: “The most important thing is promotion - and the real pot of gold is the Premiership.”

Naylor, 27, has been an ever-present this season after signing a new two-year contract in the summer.

One of the few survivors of the 2001-2002 campaign that saw Ipswich relegated from the top flight, he has set his heart on a return to the big-time next term.


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Naylor added: “We were all very disappointed to go out of the Carling Cup at Doncaster on Tuesday and we can appreciate it has cost the club financially.

“But everyone is agreed that promotion is the priority and if we do manage to go up I don't think anyone will bother too much about what happened the other night.

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“Doncaster had two shots on target and scored two goals. It might never happen again for them, but I agree we weren't as good as we should have been and we need to put in a much better display against Plymouth.”

Naylor and several colleagues caught Argyle's 1-0 win at Cardiff last month, a smash-and-grab success that sent them soaring to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship table.

He explained: “We were in a hotel the night before our game at Derby and we watched the game on Sky Sports.

“I don't think we can be too gung-ho against Plymouth. We made that mistake at times last season and it proved to be our Achilles heel. It was our home record that cost us promotion.

“But our home record speaks for itself this season.

“Four games, four wins and, by and large, we are defending properly and working harder to defend as a team.

“We're being a bit more cagey and it's working for us.

“It's about working harder to get the ball back and then looking to exploit the gaps.

“I think we know what to expect from Plymouth. They will look to get everyone behind the ball and then try to hit us on the break.”

Naylor feels that born-again striker Pablo Counago, rejuvenated after goals against Millwall and West Ham, could have a key role to play.

The Spanish striker has played himself back into contention after his expected summer departure failed to materialise and boss Joe Royle was critical of his fitness, form and attitude.

Naylor said: “Sometimes it helps having Pablo in the team.

“He's one of the best with his back to the goal and when teams look to defend deep he can help to unlock the defence with his twisting and turning.

“It will also be good to be back in front of our own fans after three games in a row on the road. Ipswich seems to be a long way from everywhere and the travelling can be quite tiring.”

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