Ipswich Town midfielder Massimo Luongo is determined to focus on his own team in the promotion race, but admitted that it can be difficult to block out the outside noise.

The Blues currently sit top of the Championship, although that’s unlikely to be the case when they return to action away at Hull City on April 27th. Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton will each play at least two games between now and then, although Town will know what they need to do to secure promotion in the final week of the campaign.

SIGN-UP! Get five months of ALL our Town content for just £5 - or 40% off a whole year!

No matter what, it’ll still be in their hands, although the psychological pressure will be difference. Once again, Ipswich’s top-two rivals will go first and they’ll have to react, but Luongo won’t be thinking about what’s going on elsewhere.

“It’s so hard to avoid,” he said prior to the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough. “I get a lot of messages from my friends, ‘ah, the results are going well for you’, but I don’t want it.

“I think I was watching the Champions League on Tuesday anyway, I think everyone probably was. There were 60 minutes to play, and I thought, ‘ah, why are you texting me with 60 minutes? Text me at the end of the game!’

“I think everyone is different in how they want to approach it. I saw Vas (Hladky) before the Watford game and I asked what he’d been up to the night before, he said he watched the Leeds game. I was like ‘oh, fair enough, I watched the Champions League.’

East Anglian Daily Times: Luongo scored the equaliser against former club Middlesbrough on SaturdayLuongo scored the equaliser against former club Middlesbrough on Saturday (Image: Stephen Waller)

“Everyone’s different. I think, over the course of the season, I haven’t cared about anyone really, just us. It’s easy to keep doing that.

“It’s definitely hard to avoid, especially if you’re on your phone all the time, but I try not to worry about them - especially if they play after us. Then you’re sort of chasing results and stuff like that.”

Saturday’s game at Portman Road was set up in a similar way. Luongo revealed that he didn’t know Leicester were in action on the Friday night, a match they ended up losing 1-0 at Plymouth Argyle. He was aware that Leeds were playing in the lunchtime kick-off on the Saturday, but didn’t expect the result from Elland Road to filter into the dressing room

“Our matchday routine is relaxed, but it’s quite structured,” the 31-year-old admitted. “We’ve got a lot of meetings, we eat at a certain time, we come here for a meeting, we’re out, then we’ve probably got another meeting before we get on the bus back.

“It is hard to stop and have a look at your phone. Our phones are probably in our lockers anyway.

“If you sit next to someone, they might look at it, but we tend not to worry at that and focus on the game, especially on gameday.”

East Anglian Daily Times: The midfielder has three goals to his name this seasonThe midfielder has three goals to his name this season (Image: PA)

That all comes from Kieran McKenna, who says the exactly the same in his interviews. Luongo revealed that he’s no different in the dressing room, and that the focus is always on what Ipswich can control.

In short, the players are a constant reflection of the manager, and that’s why nerves have never seeped into their performances on the pitch.

“That’s probably why we are the way we are,” the former Australian international explained. “He’s so bang-on about all that, never being too high or too low.

“We’ve always worried about us. We rarely set up and change for a team, we always try to stick to our guns, stick to what we know best and try to do it better than we did before, obviously with tactics involved.

“Monday to Friday, we worry about ourselves.”

It also helps that this squad were involved in a promotion battle last season, one which ended successfully with their return to the Championship.

Team-mate Cameron Burgess argued that the timeline feels like it’s continued from that point, albeit with a short break and a bit of movement in and out of the squad. Luongo agreed, but stressed that the consistency of their competitive nature has helped them become ruthless on the pitch at a higher level.

East Anglian Daily Times: Luongo praised Kieran McKenna's calmness under pressureLuongo praised Kieran McKenna's calmness under pressure (Image: Ross Halls)

“It feels like yesterday we were in this situation [in League One], it’s happened so quick,” he said. “We don’t get many days off here, the manager doesn’t give us many days off, so it all just blends into one.

“Training is so important and it’s tough, so we’ve just been relentless at it for 18 months.

“It feels like it’s all blended into one, but it’s a good thing. We keep that rhythm, philosophy and momentum and see where it takes us.

“Being competitive is definitely a habit. We’re all so competitive out there. Even if we play head tennis or something like that, we’ve got a few cheaters who’ll do anything to win - I won’t name names… Samy…

“I don’t know what it was like before, but that’s the culture that the gaffer tries to push onto everyone. We always make sure we have a winner. If we go a little bit over the time, we always try to force a winner somehow.

“It’s a good habit to have, to be competitive.”