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Naylor blow for Town

PUBLISHED: 20:00 14 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 March 2010

RICHARD Naylor is already a doubt for Ipswich's clash with high-flying Portsmouth at Portman Road on Friday.

The Town defender was unable to appear for the second half of Saturday's 4-3 win at Coventry.

RICHARD Naylor is already a doubt for Ipswich's clash with high-flying Portsmouth at Portman Road on Friday.

The Town defender was unable to appear for the second half of Saturday's 4-3 win at Coventry.

And boss Joe Royle admitted today: "At this stage Richard has to be a doubt. He jarred his knee and we'll just have to wait and see how he progresses.

"It's too early to say at the moment. We should know more later today. It usually takes 48 hours to see if there's bruising and swelling."

Despite being forced into a defensive reshuffle by Naylor's withdrawal, however, Town roared back from being 2-0 down at the interval to record an impressive 4-2 win.

Ipswich are now unbeaten in their last six away games and remain in seventh place, ready to capitalise if any of the teams in the play-off positions suffer a lapse in form.

But Royle's resources are already stretched and if Naylor misses Friday's live-on-Sky clash, the manager's options will be limited.

Royle added: "The good news is that both Thomas Gaardsoe and Jim Magilton came through the Coventry game with no further problems. Both had been doubtful with groin injuries, but neither player was in any trouble afterwards. Richard is our only real doubt for Friday."

Meanwhile, Royle and assistant Willie Donachie will be on a spying mission at Fratton Park tomorrow as Portsmouth take on Burnley.

Not only can Pompey book their top-flight place tomorrow, they can also return to the top of the table if they make the most of their game in hand over leaders Leicester.

"I suppose we could do with them winning tomorrow," mused Royle, "but we know it is going to be a tough game against them whatever happens."

Royle also lavished praise on his players for yet another dramatic comeback at the weekend, although he admitted: "I'd like to see us defending better, but overall I am delighted.

"I am proud of the players. They are a good bunch who have been through a lot together.

"There was the trauma of finishing fifth and then being relegated the very next season. That sort of thing brings people together and creates a good team spirit.

"Some of the lads go back even further, to several play-off campaigns without success and then finally making it. That has also helped to build characters."

Royle was keen to add his praise for a save by Andy Marshall that prevented Coventry racing even further ahead at Highfield Road.

"Had we been 3-0 down it would have been hard – even for us – but we did say at half-time on Saturday that we could get three goals," said Royle.

"In the end we got four and it could have been even more."


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