Joe happy at players' fury

IPSWICH Town players are seething and boss Joe Royle is delighted."They've been angry in training all week and the more I see of it the better," declared the Blues chief today.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town players are seething and boss Joe Royle is delighted.

"They've been angry in training all week and the more I see of it the better," declared the Blues chief today.

The Town players' fury stems from last weekend's shock 4-3 Nationwide League First Division defeat to lowly Gillingham at Portman Road.

That halted the superb six-match run – comprising five wins and an away draw – that earned Royle the October manager of the month award.

Royle, whose seventh-placed side face struggling Derby at Pride Park on Saturday, said: "It was nice to see the angry reaction the players have shown. It emphasised what a dedicated bunch they are.

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"They've been looking really desperate to get the right result up at Derby and I've every confidence in them."

Royle was given a boost last night with experienced central defender John McGreal coming through the full 90 minutes of Town Reserves' 5-1 home win over Nottingham Forest at Portman Road.

McGreal's fitness is particularly important as Richard Naylor is suspended for the visit to the east midlands at a time when other senior first team rearguard men, Chris Makin and Drissa Diallo, are still out injured.

Royle said: "I think that John has enough fitness to do himself justice at Derby, but the lad has been out for nine months and I'll be speaking to him quite a bit over the next 48 hours.

"I'm happy for him to play. I think there's a good chance he might, but we'll see how he feels."

A further defensive injury worry came in last night's reserve game with teenager Scott Mitchell, who was on the bench for the Gillingham game, picking up an injury.

Two other teenage defenders with senior squad experience, Gerard Nash and Aidan Collins, are also on the injured list.

Royle says there is no question of him going into the loan market at this stage. He explained: "With the Nottingham Forest game on Saturday week called off there will be a fortnight after the Derby game before the next match against Sheffield United. So I won't be taking anyone on loan."

Despite the manager's caution regarding McGreal, the player's accomplished display at the back last night points to him being fit to make a return against a Derby side managed by George Burley, the ex-Town chief.

It was Burley who signed McGreal for the Blues from Tranmere for £650,000 in an August 1999 deal.

Chris Bart-Williams, the midfield player on loan from Charlton, also misses the Derby match due to a one game ban.

Tommy Miller, who came on to score against Gillingham, is expected to be in from the start.

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