Mick McCarthy reiterated his belief that the race for the play-offs will go to the wire after his Ipswich side returned to the Championship top-six with a tense 3-2 win over relegated Blackpool.
Ipswich recovered from an early setback, courtesy of Andrea Orlandi’s shock fourth minute lead, to go in at the break ahead thanks to Freddie Sears’ quickfire double.
Back came Blackpool with Henry Cameron equalising before Christophe Berra’s far post header won the game seven minutes from time to move Ipswich back up to sixth.
Summing up the dramatic match, McCarthy said: “We deserved to win and at this moment in time it doesn’t really matter how we get the three points.
“We had enough chances to win two matches. We would love to be sweeping everyone aside but we haven’t done that all season.
“I knew Blackpool would be a tough nut to crack, they have some good players and they can take chances as they have nothing to lose. It took our centre-back (Berra) to be on the spot but it doesn’t matter how we get it.
“We now have 71 points, my best total since I’ve been here, but we are still nowhere near clinching a top-six spot. It is nice being back in the top six but my mantra all season has been that it will go right to the end.”
With Derby and Brentford drawing and Wolves losing, Ipswich were the big winners in the race for the two final play-off spots.
But they made hard work of seeing off Blackpool whose inevitable relegation was sealed on Easter Monday.
Orlandi shocked the majority inside Portman Road with an early opener before Ipswich hit back thanks to in-form Sears scoring in the 24th and 28th minute - his first being a particularly fine finish.
But they were unable to add a crucial third with Sears and Berra going close, before Blackpool struck again - Cameron turning in Gary Madine’s low cross in the 63rd minute.
Just as it seemed like Ipswich would waste a golden chance, up popped Berra to head home Murphy’s floated cross and break Blackpool hearts.
Seasiders boss Lee Clark paid tribute to the effort of his men as he decides who he would like to keep for next season.
Clark said: “I am a big admirer of Mick McCarthy and his teams so I expected a difficult game. But for us to come here and be 10 minutes away from getting a point was encouraging.
“I was also pleased with how some of our youngsters played, especially Henry Cameron who made one and scored one.
“When you score two goals here, you expect to get something but our Achilles’ heel has been conceding poor goals.
“I now need to make decisions about who will be part of the huge rebuilding job we need to do over the summer.
“I have told the players they are playing for their futures, whether here or at another club, and also that they are playing for their wives and their children as so many are out of contract. It is a massive summer for us.”