Defeat a blow to season ticket renewals

IPSWICH Town's hopes of persuading their fans to renew season tickets for next season were given another knock with a 1-0 Championship defeat at Preston North End last night.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's hopes of persuading their fans to renew season tickets for next season were given another knock with a 1-0 Championship defeat at Preston North End last night.

Without suspended leading scorer Alan Lee, the Blues failed to find the net for the eighth time in their last ten games.

Town now look set to finish lower than last season's 15th place when Joe Royle was in charge.

Royle watched Town in action for the first time since he was dismissed last summer at Deepdale, and he did not wish to comment on the state of the side under new manager Jim Magilton.

“There is a new man in the job now and it is his show,” said Royle.

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But while he left for his Ormskirk home keeping his thoughts to himself, midfielder Gary Roberts expressed the views of the Ipswich squad when he said: “We may have lost but the only thing missing was a goal.

“We battered a team that is looking for promotion to show that we are not far off being a successful side.”

Ipswich had the majority of possession against a side that went back into the play-off places thanks to the three points earned from Michael Ricketts' sixth minute headed goal.

The display summed up the Ipswich season under Magilton - seeing plenty of the ball and having good intentions, but having no cutting edge and losing out by conceding a sloppy goal.

“We deserved to be criticised by our fans after failing to play well against Southend and losing a game we should have won,” added Roberts.

“Not getting the right results hurts us as much as it does our supporters.

“We bounced back last night, but failed to get the goal(s) we deserved.

“There is plenty to build on for next season although Saturday's game at Luton is a big one for us now.”

Roberts said that the absence of 14-goal Lee and injured Francis Jeffers was not a factor last night.

“Jonathan Walters and Danny Haynes did really well up front and kept the Preston defence on their toes,” said Roberts, who played on the right last night with Jaime Peters rested.

Owen Garvan was also given a night off although he did come on as a substitute - as did Gavin Williams back in action after missing eight games.

Matt Richards took a blow on his right ankle, while Dan Harding, whose partner is about to give birth, also took a knock. Both had to be substituted although Harding says he will be fit for Saturday, when Lee will be available to return.

Harding now has ten bookings and misses two games after the Luton match this weekend.

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