Royle demands showdown

ANGRY Ipswich boss Joe Royle is heading for showdown talks with chairman David Sheepshanks.Royle is ready to wield the axe after last night's 1-0 defeat at Wigan that leaves his team still looking for their first win of the season.

By Dave Allard

ANGRY Ipswich boss Joe Royle is heading for showdown talks with chairman David Sheepshanks.

Royle is ready to wield the axe after last night's 1-0 defeat at Wigan that leaves his team still looking for their first win of the season.

But he needs to clarify whether there is money available to bring in loan players to boost his punchless side.


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Sheepshanks was not at the JJB Stadium for the first-ever league clash between the clubs as he had just returned from a safari holiday in South Africa.

Chairman and manager have already had preliminary discussions by telephone and there will be more plain talking when they get together at Portman Road today.

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Under-fire Sheepshanks jetted off two weeks ago on a safari holiday with his family that was planned to coincide with he and wife Mona's silver wedding celebrations.

But in his absence Town have made a dismal start to the new campaign, last night's 1-0 defeat at newly-promoted Wigan following hard on the heels of Saturday's disappointing 1-1 home draw with Coventry.

It leaves Ipswich, many people's pre-season promotion favourites, in 21st place in the First Division table with just two points from a possible 12.

Apart from seeking out Sheepshanks for urgent talks, frustrated boss Joe Royle was also tracking down managerial colleagues in his search for reinforcements.

He wants to secure at least one loan signing, preferably two, ahead of Saturday's home clash with managerless West Ham.

There are no funds available for permanent deals as the club are still heavily in debt following 16 weeks in administration earlier this year.

Royle's anger really boiled over after last night's defeat, when he launched a scathing attack on his under-achievers.

In an unprecedented after-match statement he bemoaned the loss of key players like Jamie Clapham, Hermann Hreidarsson and Matt Holland.

Royle declared: "We have got to get players in who will do what they are told. This was the worst performance since I came to the club."

He admitted it would have been unjust had Town taken a point from the game and also spoke of his team's "lack of ability".

Today, he added: "I'll be talking to the chairman and we'll be getting a plan of action together.

"The squad is better than results might suggest, but we are lacking a bit in confidence and we are a bit shot-shy."

It could all have been so different last night had Spanish striker Pablo Counago, a half-time substitute, accepted two second-half chances.

But he fluffed them both and the Ipswich players left the field, heads bowed, as their fans who had made the long trip to the north west for an 8pm kick-off voiced their displeasure with a chorus of boos.

One of the best players on view for Town was goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, a close season signing from Wimbledon.

He finished the game with a dislocated finger, but Royle later reported that the joint went back into place and that he expected Davis to be okay for the weekend.

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