Earl: There's No Reason Why We Can't Go and Win This League
Monday, 10th Feb 2020 16:08
Loanee Josh Earl is convinced Town can still go up automatically despite surrendering a top-six place when they lost 1-0 at Sunderland on Saturday, a third successive defeat by a promotion rival.
The 21-year-old Preston defender, who arrived during last month’s transfer window, made his debut as a substitute for Janoi Donacien at the Stadium of Light just three minutes before Chris Maguire struck an 81st minute clincher for the Black Cats that saw them leapfrog Town and claim sixth spot.
But despite that setback, which leaves Paul Lambert’s men trailing leaders Rotherham by eight points, Earl is adamant Town can recapture their Championship status over the remaining 14 games of the current campaign.
He said: “A massive part of me wanting to come here was the fact that I rate Ipswich as the best side in this league. Okay, we’re struggling for a bit of form at the moment but we still have every chance of going up automatically, never mind via the play-offs.
“With the players we’ve got and the way the manager wants us to play, there's no reason why we can't go and win this league. It is so tight that if you go and win two on the bounce you could be right at the top again.
“Looking on from the bench, I thought the lads played really well in the first half at Sunderland. If we had taken some of our chances it would have been a different game and if we play that way in the rest of the games coming up then we’ve got every chance of winning most of them.”
Earl said the mood in the Town camp remains upbeat, adding: “You can’t let the mood get down because then you’ll lose the next game and the next one after that.
"It’s not like we’ve got to come in and start pointing fingers. Of course we’re disappointed – we’ll have a go at each other after the game and say ‘Come on we’ve got to do better’ – but we can’t get disheartened.”
Next up for Town is tomorrow’s trip to South London to face AFC Wimbledon, who proved stiff opposition at Portman Road earlier in the season.
Not only did they grab the lead before half-time, they held on until nine minutes before the end when James Norwood equalised and were still looking good for a point when Kayden Jackson grabbed a dramatic stoppage-time winner.
Wimbledon are currently fourth from bottom, six points above the drop zone, but have only lost four of their 15 home league games this season.
That form suggests it might be a more difficult task than their position in the table suggests, although Earl sees it as a must-win game for Town.
He added: “I think every game from now until the end of the season is pretty much a must-win game. They are all massive games. If we want to go up automatically we’ve got to win quite a few out of the 14 we have left.
“We’ve left ourselves… I wouldn’t say an uphill battle, because there are so many games still to be played.
“It’s so tight around the top of the league that if we win two games on the bounce, I don’t know, you could see us go all the way to the top or something like that.
"After losing three on the trot this has to be considered must-win. But we won’t be focusing on that – we just have to play our game and we’ll get the job done.”
After Saturday’s defeat Town boss Paul Lambert said that if his players can repeat their dominant first-half display in their remaining fixtures they will win more than they lose.
Earl continued: “I’d agree with that. I think we’ve got every chance and to finish in the top two is definitely still the target.”
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