Royle ready for play-offs if Wigan win promotion race

Ipswich Town 5 - Crewe Alexandra 1
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The Independent Football

One game to go, and both clubs know a win might not be enough to save their season. Ipswich will miss automatic promotion to the Premiership if Wigan win at home to Reading, and Crewe will go down if Brighton or Gillingham win their final matches - the former against Ipswich.

One game to go, and both clubs know a win might not be enough to save their season. Ipswich will miss automatic promotion to the Premiership if Wigan win at home to Reading, and Crewe will go down if Brighton or Gillingham win their final matches - the former against Ipswich.

Ipswich's manager, Joe Royle, a long-standing critic of the play-off system, highlighted his side's 14-point advantage over the sixth-placed team.

"Most people said we would not do well this season, so I would have taken this position at the start and we'll go up through the play-offs if we have to," he said. "But we're desperate to win. It will be a hard game in difficult conditions at Brighton, but we'll have to adapt to them."

The star of this rout was Ipswich's Tommy Miller. His two second-half goals, after Shefki Kuqi and Jim Magilton had killed the game early on, made it 15 for the season. Pablo Couñago scored the fifth before David Vaughan's 90th-minute consolation.

Miller said: "It has been like a close game of tennis with us and Wigan both having advantage. Now it's deuce and there is still everything to play for."

Crewe have dropped into the relegation zone after 20 games without a win since they sold their striker Dean Ashton in January.

"I knew this might happen when we sold Dean, but I hoped we already had enough points," said their manager, Dario Gradi. "I asked him to stay to the end of the season, but I couldn't really expect him to turn down a move to the Premiership and increase his wages by four times.

"All the players who come here know how we survive and that is by selling players on when they are ready. Seth Johnson is the only player in recent times who has stayed to help us in a relegation battle before moving.

"I thought we might not win a match when we came up in 1997, but we've been here for eight of the past nine years and the fight is to produce more players to get us back again. But it is going to be harder than ever if we go down again."

Goals: Kuqi (6) 1-0; Magilton (12) 2-0; Miller (51) 3-0; Miller (81) 4-0; Couñago (82) 5-0; Vaughan (90) 5-1.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Davis; Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor (Diallo, 55), Unsworth; Miller, Magilton, Westlake, Currie; Bent (Scowcroft, 83), Kuqi (Couñago, 73). Substitutes not used: Price (gk), Horlock.

Crewe Alexandra (4-4-2): Ince; Moss, Walker, Jones (Bignot, 80), Moses; Bell (Higdon, 69), Lunt, Sorvel (Cochrane, 55), Vaughan; Varney, Rivers. Substitutes not used: Williams (gk), Roberts.

Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).

Booked: Crewe Cochrane.

Man of the match: Miller.

Attendance: 28,244.

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