Santos: We can cut down Blades

EX-Blade Georges Santos feels his Ipswich side have enough sharpness to beat old club Sheffield United at Portman Road on Saturday."They may be second and us eighth, but I believe we've got the players capable of narrowing the gap," says the 33-year-old versatile player currently operating at central defence.

By Dave Allard

EX-Blade Georges Santos feels his Ipswich side have enough sharpness to beat old club Sheffield United at Portman Road on Saturday.

"They may be second and us eighth, but I believe we've got the players capable of narrowing the gap," says the 33-year-old versatile player currently operating at central defence.

But the big Frenchman insists that first and foremost the renowned passion and fire of Neil Warnock's Yorkshiremen must be matched.

Santos spent two years at Bramall Lane after leaving West Bromwich Albion and before joining Grimsby.

He became a popular figure during two Blades seasons which saw him operate mainly in deep midfield.

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"I enjoyed it there. I liked the players and the big crowd were good to me.

"When I played against United for Grimsby last season the Blades fans chanted my name," he said.

Santos and his team-mates are out to get back to winning ways after two draws and a defeat in the last three games.

He said: "After a marvellous October we started this month with a 4-3 home defeat to Gillingham. We have to show that we are better in front of our own fans this time.

"We are only six points behind United and realise that a win could make our situation look a whole lot brighter. The game is a battle between two of the big clubs in the division, clubs with big traditions who pull in big crowds."

And he warns: "Sheffield United have a reputation for never giving up. They run, chase and fight to the last.

" This is their reputation, and I know that full well. I'm confident we can match that and I think that we've enough players of quality to win the game."

Santos, who joined Town in the summer on a free transfer after failing to agree a new deal at Grimsby, is full of confidence that Ipswich can be challenging for promotion come the end of the season.

"We had a bad start, but have recovered well. There are 28 games left and so much work to be done. There is a great spirit and determination here and hopefully we can show plenty of it on Saturday."

Town, whose last game was the 2-2 draw at Derby, will have defender Richard Naylor and midfield man Chris Bart-Williams back in action after one game suspensions.

Nine-goal top marksman Pablo Counago misses out due to his hamstring injury.

l CHRIS Makin, the experienced Ipswich defender who has missed the last 14 matches with a groin injury, is running again after having injections.

He said today: "The injections were given five days ago and the injury has settled down again. It's good to be running again, but I've had setbacks in the past and take nothing for granted

"I've hit barriers before when I start stepping things up. So I'm not getting carried away. But I'm hopeful that the injections will be a success."

l TOWN reserve keeper Lewis Price will get a one-match ban for his sending off against Portsmouth on Tuesday at Portman Road. He will not be available for the Premier Reserve League Southern Section game at home to Chelsea next Wednesday.

But Price, who has yet to make a senior appearance, will not miss bench duty at any first team games.

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