Joe warns his players

IPSWICH players will take to the field against Hull tomorrow with a warning from manager Joe Royle ringing in their ears.It will be the same one they failed to heed earlier this month when Millwall sprang a shock and earned a point that helped to scupper Town's play-off dream.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH players will take to the field against Hull tomorrow with a warning from manager Joe Royle ringing in their ears.

It will be the same one they failed to heed earlier this month when Millwall sprang a shock and earned a point that helped to scupper Town's play-off dream.

Royle said: “Hull are a very honest, workmanlike side and I have no doubt that we are in for a hard game. It was the same with Millwall, which I knew wouldn't be easy either.

“I see Peter Taylor is telling his team they need one more win to make sure of staying in the Championship and if I were in his position I would be doing exactly the same.

“But realistically I think they are safe. They have enough points and I can't see them being caught, but Peter is right to try to gee them up.”

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Royle is in no mood to surrender his own team's play-off chances, even though they appear remote after Ipswich gathered just two points from their last three games.

Royle added: “I certainly haven't given up. If we win three out of four, or even all four, let's look at the picture then. Who knows what might happen?”

Town still have doubts about full-back Scott Barron (hamstring) and Jimmy Juan (groin) but Ian Westlake (dead leg) is fit again, while Danny Haynes (ankle) and Owen Garvan (knee) are both expected to recover in time.

It has been a persistent pattern all season, with several players suffering long-term injuries and the manager's team-building plans constantly hampered by a string of shorter term problems.

Royle said: “In all my time in the game I have never known a season like it. But at least it has been the making of some of our younger players.

“Seven of last year's FA Youth Cup-winning side have all played in the first team this season, which is another huge pat on the back to our academy set-up.”

The 17th-placed Tigers recently ended a run of five games without a win that had fans worried about an instant return to League One.

But triumphs in their last two outings, at home to both Plymouth and Crewe without conceding a goal, have seen them edge closer to Championship safety.

Former Ipswich trialist Rui Marques joined Hull on loan from Leeds yesterday after QPR blocked a similar move for another ex-Town player, Georges Santos.

Angolan international Marques, 28, played in a Portman Road pre-season friendly against Rangers before Leeds appeared on the scene and made the former Stuttgart and Maritimo defender a firm offer.

But a League Cup win over Oldham at Elland Road in August was his only senior appearance for Kevin Blackwell's side.

Hull travelled to their overnight Essex base yesterday and Taylor's selection plans were hindered by illness to left-sided pair Stuart Elliott and Alan Rogers.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Supple, Sito, Wilnis, De Vos, Barron, Magilton, Juan, Garvan, Richards, Westlake, Currie, Haynes, Lee, Casement, McDonald and Price.

HULL: Myhill, Wiseman, Cort, Delaney, Rogers, Marques, Dawson, Green, Andrews, Noble, Elliott, Barmby, Parkin, Fagan, Thelwell, Ellison, Paynter, Duffy and Duke.

Referee: Ray Olivier (West Midlands).

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