Joe aims to turn tables in derby

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is praying for a different outcome on Sunday to his last appearance in an East Anglian derby.Rewind to Easter Monday 1981 and Royle, then a Norwich player, was celebrating a dramatic win for the Canaries.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is praying for a different outcome on Sunday to his last appearance in an East Anglian derby.

Rewind to Easter Monday 1981 and Royle, then a Norwich player, was celebrating a dramatic win for the Canaries. But he returns to Carrow Road in two days' time determined to lead Town to a victory that will rekindle their play-off hopes.

Royle said: "I can remember the fact that Norwich won the game 1-0 and Justin Fashanu scored the goal.

"But it was a long time ago and doesn't mean anything. It's only history."

Former England striker Royle had mixed fortunes in derby games during his time at Norwich.

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On Boxing Day 1980 he was in the side beaten 2-0 at Portman Road, when Alan Brazil and John Wark were on target for Town.

The 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road was costly for Ipswich as their title hopes suffered a massive blow.

Come the end of that season Town were runners-up to champions Aston Villa, while the Canaries finished third bottom and were relegated.

Royle insisted his players, who have agreed to a 20 per cent wage deferral to ease the financial strain at a club plunged into administration almost three weeks ago, are firmly focused on Sunday's big game.

He said: "The mood is fine. If you're not up for a game like this you've got a big problem.

"There will be 22 very passionate players out there. We hope to settle down and pass the ball – that's what we will be aiming to do."

Royle is unlikely to name his team until the day of the game, giving his crocked stars every chance to recover in time.

Striker Marcus Bent is continuing to have treatment on his injured hamstring, but defender John McGreal appears to be fighting a losing battle to shake off a back injury.

Royle said: "Marcus is a bit better and we'll try him tomorrow. John still has 48 hours, but he is going to have to improve dramatically. Marcus has a better chance."

Defender Chris Makin will get over a dead leg in time, while Richard Naylor was back at the club today after a bout of gastroenteritis that has also affected reserve midfielder Nabil Abidallah.

If Marcus Bent and Naylor are not fit enough, Town will have only one senior striker – 19-year-old top scorer Darren Bent – available on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Norwich boss Nigel Worthington also has several key players on the doubtful list.

But Worthington rallied his troops ahead of the big game when he said: "The people who go out there have got to give blood for the club.

"If I have to motivate them for this one then they should think about hanging their boots up. Just thinking about it gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing up."

Worthington also considered ex-Canary keeper Andy Marshall's first return to Carrow Road since his free transfer move in the summer of 2001.

He added: "Andy Marshall's gone to Ipswich, he's coming back to Norwich for the first time, he's a good lad and we'll give him a good welcome.

"We've got to focus on ourselves. We know what Ipswich are about, we know that they've got good players – they've just come down from the Premiership.

"But I've got good players here as well and they've got a point to prove."

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