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Dickov Relishing Underdog Tag

10 April 2014

Gaffer spoke to the press ahead of Saturday's clash with Ipswich Town.

Paul Dickov was in buoyant mood ahead of his side’s trek to Ipswich at the weekend, despite disappointing back to back defeats at home recently.

“I feel confident and this isn’t me being stupid or playing mind games or being naïve, we’re in a great position as teams have to play catch up with us. I would much rather it be in our own hands rather than rely on other results,” he said.

“We’ve had two poor defeats where we feel we should have picked up points but at the same time, the performances have been okay.”

Dickov also issued a rallying cry to everyone connected with the club to ensure Championship survival as quickly as possible.

“I’m embracing it; I want my players and the club to embrace it. We were in League 1 last year and now we’re in the Championship against top clubs and everybody at the start of the season had us down for relegation, so what have we got to lose?

“We have five teams below us and a team that’s level on points with us so we’re in a good place at the minute. I know people might not think it and might think I’m deluded but I’m really looking forward to it,” said the Scot.

Dickov admitted that it was a risk playing Richie Wellens in the game against Bolton and one that arguably backfired with the midfielder being substituted after just half an hour.

“Richie’s probably going to struggle for Saturday but we’re hopeful that he should be okay for the games at the Easter weekend. It was a risk playing him on Tuesday night, we knew that before the game, but it’s not a risk I regret taking – you want your best players on the pitch and Richie is one of them,” Dickov said.

“It’s just making sure it’s healed properly; maybe if we’d picked up a result against Birmingham then we wouldn’t have needed to force Richie in to the game but its one of those things. I’m learning all the time as a manager, if it works great, if not then you look a little stupid.”

Doubts over the fitness of Australian defender Lucas Neill also surfaced and it seems apparent that the Watford loanee may face a similar situation to Wellens. Neill is struggling with a calf injury which was sustained during the pulsating 2-1 defeat to the Trotters.

“After the first 20 minutes – which was too open – we’ve absolutely pummelled them in lots of ways. We’ve got the stats here and we just needed a little break to go our way and we’d have been okay and that gives me a lot of confidence going in to these last five games.

“Defensively we’ve got to be sound – we can’t defend like we did in the first 20 minutes against. I spoke to Dougie (Freedman) after the game and agreed it was like an under 16’s game,” he said.

Rovers have a good record at Portman Road, taking 7 points from their last four outings in Suffolk and Dickov said that he is happy to play the underdog role.

“It’s a game that everybody outside of the club will expect us to lose and I love it. What it does is, it lets me say to the players ‘everyone expects us to lose, if we are going to lose, then let’s lose while having a good go at them.’

“More often than not, the fixtures in the Championship and the clubs and resources that we’re up against, people expect us to get beat and we have to use that to our advantage. You don’t have to say anything. Ipswich are flying at the minute, Mick (McCarthy) is a top manager and we’re going to their place where their record is really good as they’re going for the play offs and their fans will be expecting them to turn us over but we go there hopeful,” he finished.




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