Royle facing strike poser

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is pondering just one position in his line-up for Sunday's make-or-break home clash with Cardiff.Royle must make up his mind which striking partnership should start against the Bluebirds in a game certain to attract one of Portman Road's biggest crowds of the season – with 17-year-old ace Dean Bowditch possibly set to miss out.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is pondering just one position in his line-up for Sunday's make-or-break home clash with Cardiff.

Royle must make up his mind which striking partnership should start against the Bluebirds in a game certain to attract one of Portman Road's biggest crowds of the season – with 17-year-old ace Dean Bowditch possibly set to miss out.

Ipswich anticipate an attendance in excess of 29,000, a figure only beaten twice this season – for the derby clash with Norwich and the visit of West Ham.

The only thing preventing a full house is that Cardiff have returned around 500 tickets which, because of segregation, cannot be sold to home supporters.


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Manager Royle, meanwhile, has to decide who is going to partner leading scorer Darren Bent, whose place looks secure after a run of eight goals in his last ten games took his season's tally to 15.

The Town boss today hinted that 17-year-old Dean Bowditch may step down from the side that started against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane a week ago.

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Richard Naylor, also a youth product but now the club's longest-serving player, replaced Bowditch at half-time in that game and looks to be favourite to face the Welsh club.

Royle will not make his selection public until just before kick-off and said today: "Dean has done very well this season and he has the temperament, as well as the ability, to go a long way in the game.

"But we saw last week at Sheffield how physical it is in this division and it might be that Sunday's game will be better suited to one of the stronger boys."

Whoever gets the final nod, Royle has virtually a full complement of players available to him, with only Pablo Counago and Chris Makin out of the equation.

Counago is well on the road to recovery, however, after rejoining the squad for training and is keen to be involved in the play-offs should things go according to plan on Sunday.

With Tommy Miller free of the hamstring and sciatica problems that have handicapped him in recent weeks, Royle looks set to name this team: Davis, Wilnis, Elliott, McGreal, Richards, Miller, Magilton, Wright, Westlake, Bent and Naylor.

Royle added: "The season is now down to one game and we know what we've got to do. The team has come a long way this season and everyone - the seniors, the kids, loan players who came in and have departed, others who are still with us and the free transfer lads we brought in - has played a part."

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