Royle expects tough Blades tie

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle describes Saturday's FA Cup showdown with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane as being "a battle between the two in-form sides of the First Division".

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle describes Saturday's FA Cup showdown with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane as being "a battle between the two in-form sides of the First Division".

The Portman Road chief does not feel the Blades' Worthington Cup semi-final exit at Liverpool last night will affect their challenge.

Neil Warnock's side lost 2-0 after extra-time, 3-2 on aggregate, to fall just short of a Millennium Stadium final.


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"They gave it their best shot and I don't think the extra-time will have taken that much out of them. They only had a short journey back after the game and that was a bonus for them," said Royle.

The Town boss, who managed Everton when they won the FA Cup in 1995, continued: "Sheffield United are third in the table and really going for glory. We're moving up towards the play-off zone. Both squads are on a good run and I know they'll really be

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wanting to put us in our place.

"I'm expecting a really hard game between two sides with great ambitions in the First Division this season."

Royle, whose team drew 0-0 at Bramall Lane in the league not long after he arrived to take charge in late October, continued: "There should be a great atmosphere in the stadium on Saturday. The league is so important of course, but the FA Cup is always very, very special."

Town have no new injury worries ahead of the fourth round tie.

The Blades will be without their star midfield man Michael Tonge due to a suspension.

New attackers Dean Windass and Steve Kabba are both cup-tied after their moves from Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace.

Midfield man Nick Montgomery came off at Anfield last night due to an ankle injury.

Tommy Mooney, the on-loan front man from Birmingham who came on last night, is expected to make his home debut.

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