Joe: I'm ready for the Royals

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle today sounded a: "Ready for Reading" war cry.The experienced Blues boss watched his side complete an unbeaten five-game pre-season schedule with a 1-1 home draw with top Bulgarian side Levski Sofia at Portman Road last night.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle today sounded a: "Ready for Reading" war cry.

The experienced Blues boss watched his side complete an unbeaten five-game pre-season schedule with a 1-1 home draw with top Bulgarian side Levski Sofia at Portman Road last night.

It was an entertaining game for a crowd of just under 10,000, but the ex-Oldham, Everton and Manchester City boss insisted: "Pre-season tends to drag a bit towards the end with games in front of small crowds.

"I'm expecting Portman Road to be throbbing for the opener against Reading next Saturday.

"The rehearsals are over and we're ready to get going. Next Saturday we'll all be really up for it, the crowd and the team."

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Pablo Counago, the Spanish striker who top scored for Town with 19 goals last season, put the Blues ahead last night in the 69th minute with a well executed effort.

However, Sofia levelled though Temile Omonigho's 30-yard stunner ten minutes later.

The three Town new signings – keeper Kelvin Davis, central defender Drissa Diallo and centre-half or midfield anchorman Georges Santos – all played last night.

Royle added: "The game was a terrific work-out. We had several chances and they didn't really get on target until that goal which came out of the blue.

"We defended well and I thought that Drissa Diallo was man of the match.

"Kelvin Davis showed what a good kicker he is on a night when he never had much to do. Sofia were easily the best side we've faced in pre-season. In a couple of weeks they'll be playing in Europe. It was a stiff test for us."

Experienced defender Chris Makin missed last night's game with a thigh injury.

John McGreal, the Blues stalwart centre-half, continues his comeback from long term injury today in a friendly at Bury Town.