Royle locked in mind games with Warnock
RIVAL bosses Joe Royle and Neil Warnock were today at loggerheads in the build-up to Ipswich's key game at Sheffield United.Blades manager Warnock pointed to the fact that Friday's crucial showdown is being staged at Bramall Lane would be a huge advantage to his side.
RIVAL bosses Joe Royle and Neil Warnock were today at loggerheads in the build-up to Ipswich's key game at Sheffield United.
Blades manager Warnock pointed to the fact that Friday's crucial showdown is being staged at Bramall Lane would be a huge advantage to his side.
But Royle dismissed that theory and hit back: "The venue doesn't really matter to us.
"If you look at our record, you will see that we have lost more games at Portman Road this season than we have away from home."
Friday's clash, to be screened live on Sky Sports, is one that neither of the play-off contenders can afford to lose.
Warnock said: "Ipswich is our cup final and it's not often that you get to play a cup final at home.
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"We need everybody to turn out and give it their all for 90 minutes – players, coaches and supporters alike.
"It's absolutely vital that we make the most of being at the Lane. It's a huge occasion and everyone who has an interest should come along.
"I want the lads to have an amazing backing all the way through. If we can get that throughout, it really could carry them through."
Warnock, whose record of leading teams to promotion via the play-offs is second to none, had to settle for second best when the Blades were KO'd by Wolves in last season's First Division final.
The United boss added: "Ipswich will create chances because that's the way they play, but we are confident here that we have enough to trouble them ourselves."
But Royle replied: "We certainly don't see Friday's game as our cup final. We hope we've still got that to come, at Cardiff on May 29.
"This game is an opportunity to see off one of the teams behind us and we'll be going there to win – that's us, that's the way we are.
"We're not great at containing opponents – our record tells you that – but we are the highest scorers in the country, not just the First Division, and creating chances has not been our problem."
Saturday's home defeat by Nottingham Forest was Town's eighth in the league at Portman Road this season, while they have been beaten only seven times on their travels.
They are seeking a fifth successive victory on the road after wins at Walsall, Wimbledon, Rotherham and Gillingham in recent weeks.
Injured pair Tommy Miller (hamstring) and Jim Magilton (thigh) were due to join their colleagues in training today.
Royle said: "They will at least do the warm-up with the rest of the lads and we'll see what they can do beyond that."
Miller, absent against Forest, is regarded as the biggest doubt, while skipper Magilton, withdrawn after a hefty challenge from Paul Evans left him with stud marks down his left thigh, is expected to recover in time.
Meanwhile, Royle said the position regarding midfielder Martijn Reuser, who was told in January 2003 that he could leave on a free transfer, remained unchanged.
Reports that the Dutchman was wanted back home by Willem II surfaced on websites yesterday. Royle said: "I have spoken to Martijn's agent and he says a number of clubs in Holland are interested in him.
"The situation hasn't changed. He was put on a free transfer because we couldn't afford his wages in the First Division and that still applies."
Reuser has said he may depart in the summer, although he is under contract to Ipswich until June 2005.