Joe pens his Premiership shopping list

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today considered the possibility of promotion to the Premiership and likened it to playing fantasy football.Royle's in-form team still have a chance of making the play-offs, which improved last night when rivals Preston and Wolves were both held to goalless draws by Plymouth and Stoke respectively.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today considered the possibility of promotion to the Premiership and likened it to playing fantasy football.

Royle's in-form team still have a chance of making the play-offs, which improved last night when rivals Preston and Wolves were both held to goalless draws by Plymouth and Stoke respectively.

If Town can edge into a top six place by the end of the season, and then win through the mini knockout phase, the Premiership dream will become reality.

Royle knows it remains a long shot, but Ipswich would not be the first club to string a run of good results together and catapult themselves into the big-time.

The Town boss admitted he has a shopping list of players he would like to bring in during the summer and some will be out of reach unless Portman Road is playing host to Premiership football.

Royle admitted: “If we win promotion it changes everything. It won't quite be fantasy football, but it will be a whole new ball game.

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“But even if it doesn't happen, and we have another season in the Championship, we are trying to make sure we keep the current side together.

“We are talking to Jason De Vos and Fabian Wilnis about new contracts and don't expect any problems. Plus, we already have Matt Richards and Scott Barron fixed up, while we are well down the trail with Owen Garvan.

“We are making sure we retain

our assets, while our performances and results tell me we are strong enough to take on anyone in this division. If we add, say, three new players in the summer we will be even better equipped.

“Whatever happens over the next few weeks I know I will have a more comfortable summer in the knowledge that we have things in place for the new season, whereas last year it was a big worry as to which players would leave.

“There is a big, positive feel about the place and the ambition is still there, make no mistake about that.”

Ipswich have rearranged last week's postponed game at Preston for next Tuesday, meaning that because they visit Crystal Palace on Saturday week they will face two play-off rivals

in the space of just four days.

Royle hopes to have Alan Lee back in attack against Millwall at Portman Road this weekend, when on-loan striker Ricardo Fuller will be absent through suspension.

French midfielder Jimmy Juan will definitely be back in contention after recovering from a groin problem, while the Preston postponement has given defender Fabian Wilnis a chance to get over a knee injury.

Royle said: “There have been some crunch times over the last few months, but next week tops the lot with two of our opponents being adversaries for that sixth place and the other fighting for their lives.

“It is not impossible for us to make the play-offs but in ten days' time we will know how realistic a chance we have.

“We will either be right on the others' tails, in amongst them or still looking to catch them.”

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