Mick McCarthy: Ipswich boss accepts Middlesbrough game key
Boss Mick McCarthy says Ipswich Town's hopes of winning automatic promotion to the Premier League hinge on beating Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Ipswich are seventh in the Championship table, three places and five points adrift of Boro, who are equal on points with leaders Bournemouth.
"If there's two teams eight points in front us, we're not going to win automatic promotion," said McCarthy.
"I doubt that very, very much, so the games we have coming up are vital."
McCarthy said victories had been harder to come by since the start of 2015, with Ipswich triumphing just five times in their past 12 league games.
|Championship table - 10 games to go|
"That applies to everybody," McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk. "Why it's harder, I've no idea, other than the fact it becomes tougher, and will be tougher for the next 10 games.
"We have a lot of top teams to play, and our focus is to make sure we're in it until the very end. We need to stay in the pack, get something out of the games we have coming.
"I'll do the job with the facilities and the players I have. There's no point in wishing for something that's not there and I think that's why we've done well, we just get on with it and we're still pushing for promotion.
"We had a great victory over Middlesbrough just before Christmas and they'll be ready for us, knowing what we're about, so it will be a tough old fixture. Wherever we go we make it a handful for anybody."
McCarthy also confirmed that a number of players carrying injuries were expected to be available, including midfielder Kevin Bru.
"Only Luke Hyam, Darren Ambrose and Noel Hunt are on the injury table, so things have picked up," said McCarthy.
"It's probably a bit too soon for David McGoldrick, he's had two or three days full training, but I don't think that's conducive to playing full tilt against Middlesbrough."