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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Joe's tip - have a flutter on the Blues

PUBLISHED: 20:23 30 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2010

JOE Royle let slip his confidence in his team after the 3-2 victory over Walsall at Portman Road.

Publicly the Ipswich Town manager has played down thoughts of a quick return to the Premiership, regularly refusing to mention the 'P' words - promotion and play-offs.

JOE Royle let slip his confidence in his team after the 3-2 victory over Walsall at Portman Road.

Publicly the Ipswich Town manager has played down thoughts of a quick return to the Premiership, regularly refusing to mention the 'P' words – promotion and play-offs.

But on Saturday he admitted: "I don't mind a bet or two but I never wager on my own team.

"However, I did have a word with my mates soon after I came here and told them to have few bob on Ipswich."

Having led the club to a five-match unbeaten run, the vastly experienced Royle's first impressions currently appear well founded.

He added: "We are not getting carried away. Millwall will come here on Wednesday with their tails up after a great win at the weekend.

"It will be another difficult game and we must stop conceding goals. I don't like us letting in two at home. We made a crisis out of almost nothing.

"At 2-0 and at 3-1 we were cruising. Once we had a two-goal cushion we should have been keeping the ball and not allowing Walsall to make it hard work for us.

"A month ago we could well have been beaten. It has been a good Christmas and I would have taken a 3-2 victory before the game."

Having studied a video of the Walsall opening goal, Royle was sure it was clearly offside.

He had praise for his goalscorers. "Pablo Counago was outstanding. His work for the team was excellent and his all-round play was a joy to watch.

"Pablo has a low base and when he twists and turns in the box he is a handful to keep under control.

"Thomas Gaardsoe is a good footballer and he is also doing well. I put a challenge to him and he has responded in style.

"During the interval at Fratton Park against Portsmouth I asked him why he couldn't make an impact with his head in the opposing penalty area.

"Since then he has scored three fine headed goals."

Royle confirmed that the swelling around keeper Andy Marshall's troublesome ankle had gone down overnight on Friday and that he will be fit for the Millwall match, but Tommy Miller's knee may rule him out.

And he stressed that he has nothing against Darren Ambrose, who was left on the bench after starring in the final seven minutes as Town won 2-1 at Leicester City on Boxing Day.

"There is no ulterior motive," he said. "We do well with the players we have in the system that is working out best.

"Darren has a fantastic future but at the moment we are doing fine."

Walsall boss Colin Lee – like Royle – had few kinds words for a referee who handed cards around like confetti and made a number of strange decisions.

Lee said: "Ipswich's first goal came 20 seconds beyond the end of stoppage time. And how my left-footed defender can pass back to his own keeper with his right foot when completely off balance in clearing a dangerous cross is beyond me."

Lee spent 40 minutes talking to his players after the game, locking them in the visitors' dressing room.

"We did some plain speaking," added Lee, whose side has now lost their last five away games.

"Our errors led to all three Ipswich goals. The keeper made a bad mistake and then we failed the elementary task of marking at a corner.

"The third goal came because we had players not good enough to handle one-on-one situations. It is not a difficult defensive duty.

"We planned to keep it tight until the interval and then put Junior up front to give help to Jorge Leitao in the final half hour and it almost worked.

"We are conceding bad goals away from home and how can we hope to collect points when we have to score at least three times to gain any reward?"

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