Bruce has bright four cast!

ALEX Bruce today insisted that Ipswich Town now have the confidence to target four points from two tough weekend matches.The Blues, beaten just once in their last five Championship games, face in-form West Brom at The Hawthorns on Saturday and then take on runaway leaders Birmingham at Portman Road on Monday afternoon.

By Elvin King

ALEX Bruce today insisted that Ipswich Town now have the confidence to target four points from two tough weekend matches.

The Blues, beaten just once in their last five Championship games, face in-form West Brom at The Hawthorns on Saturday and then take on runaway leaders Birmingham at Portman Road on Monday afternoon.

Bruce said: “Winning at Coventry on Boxing Day when we played well from one to 11 has given us confidence to take points off both West Brom and Birmingham.

“We will be searching for maximum points, but a realistic target must be four.

“The back four did well at the Ricoh Arena and Matt Richards came in and impressed when Dan Harding had to go off with concussion.

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“A few weeks ago we would probably have conceded a second goal late goal, and this shows how we have toughened up.

“The only blot was failing to keep a clean sheet, but this will happen.”

Bruce, who will be facing his former club Birmingham on Monday, has turned his disciplinary record round after being booked nine times in his opening 14 Ipswich matches.

He has not been shown a yellow card since the 1-0 defeat at Burnley on November 4 - nine games.

Since loanee Matthew Bates badly injured his knee, Bruce has been 'filling in' at right back and he received criticism from some quarters for Stoke's goal in Town's home 1-0 defeat on December 23.

And Leon McKenzie made life difficult in the opening stages on Tuesday's contest, before Bruce wrestled control over his opponent.

“Coventry pushed Leon McKenzie forward on the left, but once the game settled down I felt I got on top of him.”

Meanwhile, Town stalwart Richard Naylor has sung the praises of striker Jon Macken, whose loan period from Crystal Palace comes to an end next week.

Macken scored his third Town goal at Coventry and would be happy to extent his stay if agreement can be reached between Ipswich and Palace.

Naylor said: “Jon is everything a striker should be. He is strong, holds the ball up well and brings other players into play.

“We have all been pleased with his contribution since he arrived, and he is a good lad to have at the club.”

Magilton has a number of loan issues to sort out, with Macken, Gary Roberts and Simon Walton having their current spells at Ipswich running out after the Birmingham match.

Roberts is set to be signed permanently from Accrington while Walton's situation may have been clouded by yet another chance of manager at his parent club Charlton.

Out on loan are Darren Currie, Dean Bowditch, Matthew Brittain and Ian Miller with Currie set to join Coventry full time and the others in line to remain at Brighton, Yeovil and Boston respectively on loan.

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