Ex-Hammers man to help Joe plot win

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle will pick the brains of former West Ham assistant boss Paul Goddard ahead of Saturday's crunch play-off clash.Who better to help Town with their preparations for the Hammers' visit than Goddard, who only left Upton Park in January and is now on the Portman Road scouting staff?Royle said: “While West ham have changed and evolved since he left, I'll certainly be sitting down over a cup of tea to have a chat with Paul.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle will pick the brains of former West Ham assistant boss Paul Goddard ahead of Saturday's crunch play-off clash.

Who better to help Town with their preparations for the Hammers' visit than Goddard, who only left Upton Park in January and is now on the Portman Road scouting staff?

Royle said: “While West ham have changed and evolved since he left, I'll certainly be sitting down over a cup of tea to have a chat with Paul.

“We already know a lot about them. Not only have we played them twice, I've also seen them on another two occasions and Willie (Donachie) has also seen them a few times.”


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Goddard, a highly regarded coach who played for both clubs under John Lyall, was Ipswich caretaker manager before George Burley took charge in December 1994.

He reverted to the role of youth coach and then became a key figure in the academy set-up, a job he quit to work in tandem with Glenn Roeder upon his appointment as West Ham boss in the summer of 2001.

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Meanwhile, Royle insisted he had no preference as to his team's play-off opponents.

Town were represented at all Sunday's key games, to gather up-to-date info on all the candidates. “We've covered all eventualities,” said Royle.

He added: “We've played all three, beaten all three and lost to all three.

“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to choose between the four play-off teams and it wouldn't have mattered who we faced.

“Sunderland are very strong defensively, West Ham have some top forwards for this division and Crystal Palace are very athletic and finishing well.

“We are a free-scoring side with undoubtedly the worst defensive record of the four play-off teams, but overall there is not a lot between us.

“West Ham have talented forwards who are coveted by Premiership clubs and they will come here to play. Palace might be a bit more up and at 'em, but all four play-off teams like to play football.

“I'm on record as saying that Wigan are the best team we played all season and I'm sticking to that view - yet they are out of it.”

Royle intends speaking with Wigan boss Paul Jewell, a fellow Liverpudlian, to pass on a message of consolation at the Latics' near miss.

They would have finished fifth had they hung on to beat West Ham at the JJB Stadium on Sunday.

But Brian Deane's 90th minute header earned the Hammers a draw, meaning Wigan lost out and Crystal Palace were granted a last-gasp reprieve.

Royle said: “I'll speak to Jewelly. We're years apart but I've got to know him well over the years and I feel for him at the moment.

“Wigan spent money and went for it. They did well and could hardly have come closer. They were just a minute from the play-offs and I can imagine how they're feeling.”

Royle is also unconcerned that Town will travel to Upton Park for the second leg, pointing out: “Quite honestly, some away games have been easier for us. It doesn't bother me at all.”

Ipswich's only injury concern ahead of Saturday is midfielder Tommy Miller, who had an X-ray on a bruised foot following the 1-1 draw with Cardiff.

Royle said: “Tommy's foot is sore and swollen, and he is our main doubt. But at least the

X-ray showed it wasn't broken and there's nothing sinister going on.”

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