Royle hoping for old pals' act

JOE Royle knows he needs a big favour from former school chum Steve Coppell if Ipswich are to gain automatic promotion to the Premiership.And the Blues boss has faith in Coppell's Reading gaining a result at Wigan on Sunday.

JOE Royle knows he needs a big favour from former school chum Steve Coppell if Ipswich are to gain automatic promotion to the Premiership.

And the Blues boss has faith in Coppell's Reading gaining a result at Wigan on Sunday.

That would open the door for Ipswich to join Sunderland in automatic promotion if they win at Brighton in what is bound to be a nerve-jangling final day of the regular season.

“If I speak to Steve this week it will be for a friendly chat,” said Royle today. “Reading need a result if they are to stand a chance of gaining a play-off place and will need no motivation from me.”

Coppell and Royle attended the same Merseyside schools - Ranworth Square Primary and Quarrybank Secondary - although the Royals boss is a few years younger than Royle.

“We have been in regular contact over the years and I know enough about Steve to know that his side will not be easy to beat at the JJB Stadium,” said Royle.

Most Read

Royle believes his players deserve a Sunday to remember this weekend.

He said: “Apart from one week's blip they have been superb. We lost home games against Watford and QPR and then at Wigan in the space of eight days.

“Otherwise I could not have asked for more. We are the highest scorers in the division and only Luton have lost fewer matches than us.”

Royle was delighted with the support his side received as they outclassed Crewe 5-1 at Portman Road on Saturday.

But he is far from happy about some negative comments he has read recently.

“It hurt to read what some people are saying, but it was a boost on Saturday to see that thousands more are backing us,” said Royle.

“We have never been boring and never been dull, and we have tried to entertain for every minute of every game.

“We now need to beat Brighton and hope.

"I make Wigan slight favourites for second place because they have a home match and I have great respect for their manager Paul Jewell.

“We need some help, but I fancy our chances against anybody when we are at our best.”

And with some assistance from his friends, Royle can have the last laugh on Sunday.

Richard Naylor came off early as a precaution on Saturday, but his twisted ankle is not expected to be a problem.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter