Royle: Don't panic

JOE Royle today urged worried Ipswich Town fans: “Don't panic.”The Blues manager joins supporters in being concerned over the number of goals conceded from corners and free-kicks - highlighted when Town surrendered a two-goal lead at Watford on Saturday.

JOE Royle today urged worried Ipswich Town fans: “Don't panic.”

The Blues manager joins supporters in being concerned over the number of goals conceded from corners and free-kicks - highlighted when Town surrendered a two-goal lead at Watford on Saturday.

But Royle (right) prefers to look at the positives and insists that he is working hard to improve his team's defensive record in the Coca-Cola Championship.

“At the end of the day we are third in the table - and we would have settled for that at the start of the season,” he said. “If we can cut out our errors at the back we have a great chance of gaining promotion.

“And I am confident that we will. We are defending a lot better than last season and moving in the right direction.

“For 85 minutes on Saturday we defended very well indeed, but paid a heavy price for switching off at vital times.”

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Royle, who refuted news that he had been allocated money by the club to buy a player, is confident a defensive improvement will be found.

He went on: “We will continue to work hard on improving our defensive record and keep reminding players of their individual duties.

“They are told who to mark before games at corners and free-kicks, but short of going on to the field myself there is not much more I can do when a match is taking place.

“Richard Naylor had a great game at Watford, but it was his man who headed the first goal. And Drissa Diallo did well at Stoke City earlier in the season, yet went walkabout for a while and his man scored as we lost that game.

“It is not just one person who is at fault - and we will get it right. We have two home matches coming up and an ideal chance to make up for the points we have let slip away recently.”

Royle had no blame for Lewis Price, the deputy keeper who spilled a free-kick in the greasy conditions that led to Watford's equaliser as Town drew their third consecutive match.

“There will be no recriminations,” said Royle. “Lewis has done exceptionally well and he will be the stronger for it. When keepers make errors they often prove fatal.”

The Town first team squad has two days off and when they return to training they will prepare for Saturday's game against Preston at Portman Road.

Royle spent yesterday trying to seek a loan addition to strengthen his squad. He said: “I have a loan budget, but not a budget to buy someone. The market I am dealing in is small but I am working on it.

“It is a case of the right player becoming available.” Royle confirmed that not one of the players reported to be on his loan shopping list is in fact a target.

Royle was pleased with the show of his youngsters in the home reserve game against Southampton last night. He said: “Shane Supple and Darryl Knights particularly impressed and the latter is a clever player who could well make a big impact when he reaches his full potential.”

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