Joe: You can help us do it

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is banking on the Blue Army to cheer his side all the way to the Premiership.Opposite number Alan Pardew believes a packed Upton Park can put the frighteners on Town in tomorrow's play-off semi-final, second leg.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is banking on the Blue Army to cheer his side all the way to the Premiership.

Opposite number Alan Pardew believes a packed Upton Park can put the frighteners on Town in tomorrow's play-off semi-final, second leg.

But Royle, whose team holds a slender one-goal advantage over West Ham after Saturday's all-action spectacle at Portman Road, is backing Town's 5,000-strong following to do their stuff.

He said: "Our away support has been superb all season. They have been noisy and they have provided terrific backing for the players.

"I hear what Alan is saying – and I know he's got to say it – but I don't mind all that. I'm sure our fans will be up for this one.

"We've already been to Upton Park this season and won, so we'll wait and see what happens. Let's just say we're confident, but not complacent."

Most Read

Pardew tried to turn up the heat with his post-match comments on Saturday, claiming the Hammers' ground will be "jumping" for the return game.

But Town won there on Boxing Day, when the attendance was West Ham's best of the season at 35,021 – just 626 short of the official capacity.

And Royle repeated his belief that playing the second game away from home will suit his men.

He said: "I said before the weekend that the away game could be the easier of the two for us and I'm sticking to that."

Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie, whose team takes a 3-2 lead to Sunderland for tonight's second leg, was at Portman Road on Saturday to check on the Eagles' possible final opponents.

Meanwhile, Royle is still waiting to discover whether key central defender John McGreal will recover in time from a calf strain picked up at the weekend.

Royle issued the latest fitness bulletin this morning when he said: "John is a bit better, but the area is still swollen and he's doubtful – there's no doubt about that.

"We'll see how he is after training today, but he will be given as long as possible to recover. We are not travelling until tomorrow."

The Ipswich players were only doing a light session, with Royle promising they "will hardly get a sweat on" before heading for Suffolk College and massages all round.

The Town boss added: "At this stage of the season we are just keeping things ticking over."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter