Joe's message to Town fans

MANAGER Joe Royle today had a message for disgruntled Ipswich Town fans.“Accept that we are what we are,” said the Town boss. “We are on a par with the likes of Crewe, Burnley, Brighton and Derby County when it comes to spending power in the Championship.

By Elvin King

MANAGER Joe Royle today had a message for disgruntled Ipswich Town fans.

“Accept that we are what we are,” said the Town boss. “We are on a par with the likes of Crewe, Burnley, Brighton and Derby County when it comes to spending power in the Championship.

“It is sad but it is fact, and there has to be common sense when it comes to making judgements on results currently being achieved.”

Royle, whose side play at Hull tonight (kick-off 7.45pm), was barracked by a small section of the North Stand during Monday's 2-0 home defeat by Crystal Palace.

They were calling for him to go during a game when Town failed to find the back of the net for the tenth time this season.

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Reaching the play-offs already looks out of the question - and a poor return from three games in the next six days could see Ipswich perilously close to the relegation zone.

Reacting to the criticism, Royle said: “As long as it stays a small minority then I am not too bothered.”

And when asked how he would feel if the protests grew, Royle replied: “I don't expect them to.

“I was not dissatisfied with the way we played against Crystal Palace, but there is a lack of firepower with just one experienced striker fit.

“I am confident that results will improve once we get our injury situation back on an even keel.”

Royle feels that fans should be made fully aware of the situation he is working under.

He said in a straight-talking interview: “This club has massively over-achieved.

“For a club the size of Ipswich it was a magnificent feat to finish fifth in the Premiership in 2001.

“But since then there has been relegation and administration, which affectively filleted the club.

“When I came here in October 2002 it was thought that we were the sale of one player away from being able to build a team good enough for a return to the top flight.

“Those days are a long way away now. We might still have a Premiership set-up and excellent training facilities, but in financial respects we are not in the same league as the likes of Palace, Norwich City and most other clubs in the top half of the table.

“We almost achieved a footballing miracle last season - losing out in the play-offs. And since then we have lost four players to the Premiership.

“We have not been helped by a crippling injury list. But I repeat, we are not playing badly and we have to accept what we are.”

Royle can bring in reinforcements from next weekend when the transfer window opens in the New Year - and gaining a loan striker, or two, is his main priority.

He went on: “There are no certainties, but I have an interest in two players who come within our price range and wage bracket.

“So I may be able to do something next week.”

And explaining why Nicky Forster played up front alone against Palace following injuries to Sam Parkin, Adam Proudlock and Billy Clarke, Royle said: “Danny Haynes might have to start games but he is not ready. He is very promising, but has not been a regular in the reserves.

“Dean McDonald has been very in and out, while Dean Bowditch is nowhere near his best at the moment. We are so short of front men.”

Royle stressed that he has not lost his desire to bring the good times back to Portman Road, and he appreciates the support the Blues receive.

Boxing Day's attendance of 27,392 was the second highest in the Championship and better than two in the top flight.

“Our crowd figures have been amazing and I appreciate how frustrating this season must be for our supporters,” continued Royle.

“From the chairman down we are doing all we can to improve the situation. But we must be realistic.

“I have met hundreds of super Suffolk people in my time here and my desire to succeed has not diminished from the day I first arrived.”

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