Monday 18 December 2017

Ipswich bank on Murphy for play-off joy

Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy is the Championship's top scorer with 25 goals
Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy is the Championship's top scorer with 25 goals
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Mick McCarthy has hailed Daryl Murphy as the best striker in the Championship and hopes he can come to the fore today as his club seek a draw at Blackburn to book their place in the play-offs.

Much of the focus ahead of the game has fallen on the front men as the hosts have the prolific Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede in their ranks.

But Murphy, with 25 goals, is the division's top scorer and McCarthy believes he has the right man in his corner.

"We know about their prowess in front of goal, but our strikers are equally as good and I think we've got the best striker," said the former Ireland boss, who is aiming to bring the East Anglian side to the Premier League through the dramatic route.


They sit fifth heading into the final afternoon of a league where most of the big issues were decided earlier this week, with Bournemouth joining Watford in securing automatic promotion and Millwall and Wigan suffering relegation when Rotherham beat Reading.

Middlesbrough and Norwich are booked for the play-offs and both Ipswich and Derby require a point today to join them; the latter are at home to Reading.

Brentford and Wolves - who play doomed Wigan and Millwall respectively - are waiting to capitalise if they slip up.

They have Irish bodies in their ranks, but they are not in Martin O'Neill's current plans whereas the national manager has strong representation at Ipswich and Derby.

As it stands, fourth placed Norwich would take on fifth placed Ipswich in a tense local derby.

Meanwhile, in League One, an Irish contingent at MK Dons which includes regular performers Samir Carruthers and Darren Potter need Preston to slip up at Colchester tomorrow and a win in their meeting with relegated Yeovil to move into the Championship.

At the bottom, Dave Mooney's Leyton Orient require slip-ups from Colchester, Crawley Town and Notts County to get out of the drop zone.

County, who could field Belvedere product Graham Burke, have their fate in their hands ahead of the trip to Gillingham.

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