Chairman's delight at Town turnaround

DAVID Sheepshanks cannot think of a team in better hands than Ipswich Town.The Blues chairman has had his hand on the tiller as the club has sailed through some very stormy seas over the last three years.

By Elvin King

DAVID Sheepshanks cannot think of a team in better hands than Ipswich Town.

The Blues chairman has had his hand on the tiller as the club has sailed through some very stormy seas over the last three years.

Now Town have reached much calmer waters having gone top of the Coca-Cola Championship with yesterday's 2-0 win over Millwall at Portman Road.

The financial situation has improved to such an extent that Sheepshanks could afford to turn down a £3million bid from Charlton Athletic for striker Darren Bent last month.

And although Ipswich's finances remain very tight, good husbandry has brought the situation under control after a period of administration last year.

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And Sheepshanks is looking ahead with confidence.

He said: “I can't think of any team that is in better hands than us. I have always had immense faith in Joe Royle and have never doubted for one moment that he was the right choice when George Burley was replaced.

“He has since had to work with one, sometimes two, hands tied behind his back, but he has kept working away and is now putting a side on to the pitch every match that is his own team.

“He wants the Premiership. He wants to manage at the highest level and we have belief that he will achieve this at Portman Road.

“There have been some terrible times over the last few years, but it is a great feeling to be top of the table. And only 12 months after we were at the bottom.

“Even then there was no loss of confidence in Joe, and what a difference a year makes.

“He has made shrewd signings in Jason De Vos and Kevin Horlock, Drissa Diallo has grown into the team and our youngsters are one year older.

“There are benefits of having a small squad if everybody stays fit, and going to the top is a huge psychological boost for the players and our fans.

“I always felt we would win against Millwall and more importantly so did the players although the goals came late. Everybody has worked hard and we can enjoy our current position.”

One big plus from being on course for promotion is that the trend of selling players can be reversed. Already Sheepshanks has made it plain that there will be no more giveaways.

And Royle can possibly look forward to a Darren Huckerby-type signing to boost the squad if the

situation remains bright in the early part of next year.

Ipswich play Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow looking to make it six wins on the trot and further extend their great start to the season.

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