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Low budget Ipswich Town can compete for promotion in ‘ordinary’ Championship, says Joe Royle

PUBLISHED: 17:46 07 November 2017

Joe Garner, Martyn Waghorn and David McGoldrick celebrate during Ipswich Town's 3-0 home win against Preston North End on Saturday. Photo: Steve Waller

Joe Garner, Martyn Waghorn and David McGoldrick celebrate during Ipswich Town's 3-0 home win against Preston North End on Saturday. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

The ‘ordinary’ nature of the Championship means Ipswich Town should maintain hope of a serious promotion push despite Mick McCarthy’s restrictions in the transfer market, according to former manager Joe Royle.

The ex-Blues boss does, however, believe McCarthy would benefit from January additions to give the club’s promising start added impetus.

Ipswich head into the November international break just two points off the play-off places with a game in hand on many sides around them, with the majority of clubs above them having spent significantly more in the transfer market than McCarthy has been afforded.

But, despite that, Royle believes there is no reason the Blues can’t be in the thick of the battle when the business end of the season arrives.

“I honestly feel the Championship gets more ordinary every year and that’s not having a go,” said Royle.

“That means clubs can come up without a massive budget. We’ve seen what happened with the likes of Watford and then Bournemouth, certainly smaller clubs than Ipswich, so it can be done. The problem then is staying up but then that’s another issue.

“It’s exciting because of the level playing field. On any given day any team can beat any other team and that makes for excitement, but in terms of quality I don’t think it’s as good as when we were there with West Ham vying for top positions.”

Royle, who himself operated on a limited budget at Portman Road and led the club to the play-offs on two occasions, believes new faces can give promotion pushes new life.

“I’m sure Mick would like the cash to bring someone in because that can always ‘freshen’ the squad up in a certain position,” he said. “It’s always nice to bring someone in because Mick has dealt largely in bargain basement buys and loans.

“When I was at Ipswich I inherited the bones of a good George Burley squad including great defenders like Fabian Wilnis, the prospect of Darren Bent and players like Matt Holland and Jamie Clapham, but after that we had to watch the players go out.

“In the first year we surged from the bottom to just outside the play-offs, if we could have loaned anybody while we were in administration I’m sure we would have made it up then.”

Royle is now head of youth development at Everton, a big part of his job tracking the development of the eight Toffees youngsters currently on loan at Championship clubs.

One of those is Callum Connolly, the versatile 20-year-old having started in midfield for Town’s 3-0 home win against Preston on Saturday.

“I know the boy’s talents and I told Mick when we loaned him that he can play full-back, centre-back and in a holding midfield role because he is a talented boy,” said Royle.

“Mick was telling me the last time I spoke to him that he was looking like he was settling in and very comfortable in the place. Sometimes we don’t always take that into consideration when young boys go out on loan.

“Letting him go to Ipswich was easy because he is a talented boy and I really hope he does well.”

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