Fortunes on the turn - Joe

BOSS Joe Royle today underlined his confidence that Ipswich's fortunes are on the turn.Town, who travel to Leeds on Saturday, have failed to win any of their last four league games, a spell that has reaped just one point from a possible 12.

By Mel Henderson

BOSS Joe Royle today underlined his confidence that Ipswich's fortunes are on the turn.

Town, who travel to Leeds on Saturday, have failed to win any of their last four league games, a spell that has reaped just one point from a possible 12.

They had averaged two points per game prior to that and Royle said: “We were never going to get off to a flier after the change and turmoil of the summer.

“There was the loss of Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi, then Nicky Forster's injury, and it was always going to be difficult to replace Tommy Miller's 15 goals from midfield.

“But I have seen things in us in our last two games against Southampton and Norwich that give me a lot of encouragement. We're not that far away.

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“I said on Sunday that we need a cutting edge, not just up front but all over, but on the plus side we are beginning to get a definite shape about us.

“We haven't had too many clean sheets, perhaps, but we are making progress and getting to the stage where we will have a solid back four again.”

Royle's hopes of bringing in an experienced front player in time for the trip to Yorkshire have been dashed for the time being.

He added: “It's now too late to get anyone for the weekend but I still have one or two options and we'll look at the situation again next week.

“Billy Davies has three strikers at Preston and he was having a moan in the papers the other day about the problems he is encountering in trying to sign another one on loan.

“It just shows that there aren't that many players out there who are available. Before transfer windows and other restrictions it used to be more straightforward, but you also have clubs operating with smaller squads and that doesn't help.

“You have to be patient and play a waiting game. It was like that with Jay McEveley because I must have waited a couple of months to get him.

“I knew he was the one I wanted and we had to wait until he was fit and ready. But I think the fans will agree it was worth the wait as he has done very well for us.

“It certainly isn't for the want of trying that we have been unsuccessful so far. We just have to get on with it and all the time we are waiting Nicky Forster is getting closer to fitness.”

Royle has named an 18-strong squad for the trip north and they will not return to Ipswich until after next Tuesday's game at Burnley.

They have arranged training facilities with UniBond Premier League side Radcliffe Borough, where Royle's middle son, Darren, is in his second spell.

Defender Fabian Wilnis has been added to the players on duty for the derby defeat by Norwich after he made a quicker-than-expected recovery from the groin injury that saw him limp off during last week's home draw with Southampton.

The Town players were enjoying a day off today and will train tomorrow before setting off for their overnight hotel near Leeds.

Royle added: “Leeds are the big spenders in our league and I'm sure they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”

The Elland Road club have five senior strikers on their books but one of them, Northern Ireland international David Healy, will be unavailable as he starts a three-game suspension.

Ipswich will propose the appointment of two new board members - sales and marketing director Andrew Goulborn and finance director Anna Hughes - at the club's forthcoming annual general meeting, which will take to 10 the number of directors.

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