Royle: Let's make it four
THREE-in-a-row Ipswich Town are hell-bent on another maximum points haul against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night.The relegated, but much-fancied, Wearsiders have turned the corner after a record-equalling run of defeats.
By Dave Allard
THREE-in-a-row Ipswich Town are hell-bent on another maximum points haul against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night.
The relegated, but much-fancied, Wearsiders have turned the corner after a record-equalling run of defeats.
But they hold no fears for a Town outfit that have kickstarted their Nationwide League Division One campaign with home wins over Walsall and Wimbledon being followed by Saturday's 2-1 success at Watford.
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"We're five points off the play-off zone and nine points off the top," said Town chief Joe Royle.
"We'll be going there to win the game. Sunderland are a massive club and the atmosphere will be electric but we won't be going there looking to
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settle for a point."
A big boost for the Blues boss, whose side is badly hit by injuries, is that Alan Mahon, the on-loan midfield man from Blackburn who has been under intense treatment for a groin injury, today travelled to the north-west.
"Alan has made a different to us and having him in again is just the sort of extra boost we want right now," said Royle.
Central defender Georges Santos has been under treatment for a groin injury picked up at Watford. The big Frenchman will be fit to take his place in the side.
Town will be up against Marcus Stewart, their former Premiership top scorer, who went to The Stadium of Light just over a year ago for a knock-down fee of around the £700,000 mark.
There were rumours that Ipswich were after him on loan but Royle insisted: "Marcus is a player I admire, but this loan interest was never the case. Marcus is in the first team at Sunderland and there's no way anything was going to happen with that."
On the subject of Stewart he continued: "Playing against him will be a good test for our centre-halves Richard Naylor and Georges Santos. Marcus' great strength is in his brain. It will be a good challenge for our central defensive pair."
The Town squad left early today for the long trip north.
They are stopping off to train at Middlesbrough, facilities organised by Boro boss Steve McClaren.
The Town party that left today was: Davis, Naylor, Wilnis, Santos, Richards, Wright, Bart-Williams, Magilton, Mahon, Armstrong, Bent, Counago, Kuqi, Westlake, Bowditch, Nash, Price.