Blues line up Palace clash

IPSWICH have arranged to meet Premiership new boys Crystal Palace in a pre-season friendly.The game against Iain Dowie's play-off champions will take place at Portman Road on Saturday, July 24.

IPSWICH have arranged to meet Premiership new boys Crystal Palace in a pre-season friendly.

The game against Iain Dowie's play-off champions will take place at Portman Road on Saturday, July 24.

It will be the first of three home games ahead of the Coca-Cola League kick-off on August 7.

Sir Bobby Robson's star-studded Newcastle are the visitors on Wednesday, July 28, for the Dale Roberts testimonial match.

And Town are locked in negotiations with top European opposition about a glamour clash, again at Portman Road.

The club have yet to confirm details, but it is almost certain to be Lazio as part of the agreement that saw Italian keeper Matteo Sereni join them from Ipswich last year. Monday, August 2, is a likely date for the Serie A side's visit.

Most Read

The Palace clash will give most Town fans their first opportunity to see new signing Jason De Vos, the 30-year-old Canadian international central defender and former Wigan skipper, in action.

But many will see him make his debut at Peterborough on Saturday, July 10, when the Blues take on Barry Fry's men.

It was at Portman Road that the Palace revolution got under way, their 3-1 success on December 28 marking Dowie's first win as boss.

The Eagles were fifth bottom when they came to Ipswich, but then went on to lose just four of their final 20 league games and squeeze into the play-offs. They needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome Sunderland before beating West Ham 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

It will be Town's busiest pre-season in terms of home games for many years, an indication of manager Joe Royle's preference for a competitive warm-up.

He will be anxious to avoid a repeat of last season, when his team were stranded at the bottom of the table with just two points from their opening six league games.

That nightmare sequence meant Ipswich were always playing catch-up and Royle is looking for his team to make a flying start next time out, when they are expected to be among the bookies' favourites for promotion.