Royle chases top-six spot

IPSWICH Town know what the rewards are for a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Portman Road tomorrow night."It is a massive match and it could put us in the top six," said manager Joe Royle.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town know what the rewards are for a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Portman Road tomorrow night.

"It is a massive match and it could put us in the top six," said manager Joe Royle. "It is a big prize."

Royle, who confirmed today that defender John McGreal will be back in the starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury, is looking for help from fans to achieve their goal.

"To move up from the bottom four into a play-off position is some achievement over three months," added Royle. "The players have done exceptionally well."

And the former boss of big-city clubs Manchester City and Everton also has praise for Town's supporters.

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"I cannot remember a better volume of support. In my first match in charge of Everton the team received tremendous backing to come back and beat Liverpool.

"That was something I have always remembered. And the fans' response to Ipswich going down to ten men and being two goals adrift against Sheffield United in our last home match will also always stick in my mind.

"Our supporters recognised our position and gave us a huge lift. It has been a hectic time with that breathtaking win over the Blades and the club going into temporary administration.

"Hopefully we will have a big crowd tomorrow and the and support to help us move further up the table. Our home form has been good and we have been scoring plenty of goals.

"We have tomorrow's match and then Grimsby come to Portman Road on Saturday. After that we must concentrate on improving our away form before the game at Norwich on March 2."

Hermann Hreidarsson will miss his first game after being sent off at Bradford City on February 1, and Royle would not be drawn on what formation he will play in the Icelander's absence.

"We have John McGreal back, and that is a big plus," added Royle. "He was putting in man-of-the-match performances before his injury in December.

"We are not keeping enough clean sheets and we will be looking to John to help us in that respect."

Skipper Matt Holland could move into midfield with Fabian Wilnis and Chris Makin full backs and Thomas Gaardsoe beside McGreal in the heart of the defence.

Leading scorer Pablo Counago is clear to play up front, as his ban for being sent off against the Blades does not start until next week. Whether Royle plays him or uses the two Darrens – Bent and Ambrose – as wide players outside Marcus Bent in a three-man front line remains to be seen.

Nigerian international Finidi George is troubled by a hip injury and is set to undergo a scan. "Finidi is in line for a first team place if fit and playing well," said Royle. "He is troubled by his hip and we need to clear it up."

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