Ipswich Town well placed for next season - Ryan Stevenson

Ryan Stevenson

Ryan Stevenson believes Ipswich Town will be well placed to make a strong challenge for promotion to the Premier League next season.

The 27-year-old midfielder, who joined from Hearts in January, thinks Town proved they were capable of beating the best in the Championship this term.

"In the last 18 games we've played all the top teams and put wins on the board," he told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"It fizzled out but hopefully next season's squad will cope with that."

After beating West Ham 5-1 at the end of January, Town won six and lost only one of their next nine games, a run that raised hopes about a late push to the play-offs.

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Watford was key defeat - Stevenson

An unfortunate defeat at Watford ended those hopes and Town have failed to win any of their last five Championship matches.

"When we were beaten at Watford it really knocked the stuffing out of us," Stevenson continued. "I think we all felt had we won that we would have had a real chance of getting to the play-offs.

"It kind of fizzled out after that. A lot of boys had played a lot of games, and maybe it just sort of caught up with them, but with the squad we've got, next year hopefully we can cope with that."

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell is looking to add several players to that squad - but fears Grant Leadbitter, out of contract at the end of the season, is unlikely to stay at Portman Road.

"I was very hopeful at one stage, but the longer it's gone on I'm more leaning to maybe he'll go elsewhere," said Jewell.

"I'll find out over the next few days, and you'll find out when I hand in the team sheet on Saturday because if he isn't staying he won't play."

Town have also confirmed that veteran Lee Bowyer will not have his contract extended.

The 34-year-old midfielder, signed last year on a free from Birmingham City, has made 24 starts and a further five appearances from the bench this season.

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