Joe: I'll change system

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is set to ditch the 3-5-2 formation that saw his side go goal-crazy at the weekend.The Town boss hinted at a more conventional 4-4-2 line-up for tonight's clash at Cardiff, for which skipper Jim Magilton remains a serious doubt.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is set to ditch the 3-5-2 formation that saw his side go goal-crazy at the weekend.

The Town boss hinted at a more conventional 4-4-2 line-up for tonight's clash at Cardiff, for which skipper Jim Magilton remains a serious doubt.

Royle said: “Playing three at the back was right for the Nottingham Forest game. That's the way they play and it made sense for us to change.

“I would also have gone with it at Wigan the previous week had Jason De Vos not been suspended for that game.


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“Formations are important in that teams need to have a shape and players need to know their roles within that shape.

“But just because we won 6-0 playing 3-5-2 doesn't suddenly mean it's the answer. It was about the players and their performance against Forest.

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“We'll see tonight. Everyone is dangerous at this level, as we saw with Watford and QPR recently, and Cardiff certainly won't lie down.”

Royle was speaking from the team's hotel HQ after they checked in yesterday following a short flight from Stansted.

Magilton, meanwhile, is almost certainly out of tonight's game, although Royle was reluctant to entirely dismiss his chances of making it.

He said: “Jim is desperate to play. A scan has shown a slight tear in his calf, but he can barely feel it.

“He will have treatment this morning and a big fitness test in the afternoon. If he's not right he won't play because he could put himself at risk and end up missing the rest of the season.”

In the event of Magilton being absent, Kevin Horlock is likely to get the nod over Darren Currie to replace him, leaving a space on the substitutes' bench that on-loan Monaco star Jimmy Juan is anxious to fill.

Royle is keeping his fingers crossed that strike pair Shefki Kuqi and Darren Bent can come up trumps at Ninian Park.

He added: “They were back to their best against Forest - both of them were terrific - and we want more of the same.

“We have nine games left and we know what the prize is. The players are fully focused on what they have to do.”

Not surprisingly, Cardiff boss Lennie Lawrence has pinpointed Town's 31-goal double act as the main source of danger.

He said: “We've got to work hard to make sure the supply to their front men is not as good as it can be - then our defenders have got to win the battle.

“If we don't play properly then they can bash us, but you'd like to think they've got that 6-0 out of their system and it'll be a relatively even game.

“Ipswich are as good as anybody going forward on their day and we have to make sure that we get in there, mix it with them and don't let them play.”

They may be 17 places and 28 points apart in the Championship table, but on current form there is little to choose between the two sides.

Despite their lowly league place, Cardiff have only been beaten twice in 11 league games since Boxing Day.

They have won five and drawn four of their other nine, making it 19 points from a possible 33.

Strikers Peter Thorne and Alan Lee will again be absent tonight, the former having pulled a hamstring and the latter completing a three-game suspension.

Teenage striker Cameron Jerome, a former Middlesbrough trainee, has grabbed his chance and been joined in a makeshift attack by Lee Bullock, normally a midfielder, whose goal at Highfield Road earned a point at the weekend.

The financial pressure that forced the recent £400,000 sale of skipper Graham Kavanagh to Wigan has been eased by a £1million interest-free loan from director Michael Isaac.

But it will only mean temporary respite - the club's monthly wage bill is £750,000 - and further player departures are inevitable if that figure is to be slashed.

SQUADS

CARDIFF: Alexander, Weston, Collins, Gabbidon, Barker, McAnuff, Inamoto, Ledley, Langley, Bullock, Jerome, Fleetwood, Vidmar, Williams, Koskela and Margetson.

IPSWICH: Davis, Naylor, De Vos, Unsworth, Wilnis, Miller, Magilton, Horlock, Westlake, Richards, Kuqi, Bent, Currie, Juan, Scowcroft, Counago and Price.

Referee: Ray Olivier (Sutton Coldfield).

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