Barker believes in play-offs

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had admitted his frustration at playing a

bit-part role for Ipswich this season.

The attacking midfielder, 22, formerly of Arsenal, has not fit

directly into boss Mick McCarthy’s plans since he took charge in

November, making 12 substitute appearances in the league while not

even featuring at all during January and February.

Yet he stepped off the bench in Town’s last game before the

international break to provide the assist for Carlos Edwards’

crucial winner in a 1-0 success over Bolton, a result which

maintained a four-point gap to the drop zone.

It promises to be a nervy ride over the remaining eight games of

the campaign but Emmanuel-Thomas believes Ipswich have got enough

to preserve their Championship status.

“It has been quite a frustrating season for me because I’ve been

in and out of the team and obviously, as a player, you want to be

playing regularly,” he told the club’s official website.

“But the manager has explained what sort of approach he wants to

take into games and I totally understand that. I haven’t sulked or

anything like that. I’ve just got my head down and tried to impress

in training and look to take my chance when it comes along.

“I think the team have been playing pretty well recently and

we’ve had some decent results. We know we have eight massive games

left but I’m confident we will pick up enough points to be safe

long before the end of the season.”

Two late goals from striker Jamie Proctor at the Broadfield

Stadium on Tuesday night ended a run of four successive draws for

Barker’s men as they leapfrogged the Railwaymen into the top

half.

The Reds are nine points adrift of a top-six spot and Barker is

keen to continue the momentum going into Good Friday’s home game

against Stevenage.

Barker said: “This keeps us in contention, and puts us right

back in the race again.

“It was the only game and someone had to make ground, whereas

the team that lost effectively dropped out of the play-off

contest.”

He continued: “We’ve three games in six days and hopefully we

can carry on the momentum.

“We are on course for the time being but a lot will be decided

over the next six or seven days.

“The league table will look very different on Monday evening. We

are on a good run of form and it is a fantastic opportunity for

us.

“The players are enjoying themselves and we must be one of the

most entertaining teams to watch in the division.”