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Royle not worried by PFA award snub

PUBLISHED: 16:34 26 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

A LACK of any Ipswich players in the latest First Division select team is of no concern at Portman Road, boss Joe Royle insisted today.

Town have bigger fish to fry than to worry that none of their stars were named in the line-up unveiled at last night's annual Professional Footballers' Association Awards Dinner in London.

A LACK of any Ipswich players in the latest First Division select team is of no concern at Portman Road, boss Joe Royle insisted today.

Town have bigger fish to fry than to worry that none of their stars were named in the line-up unveiled at last night's annual Professional Footballers' Association Awards Dinner in London.

Royle said: "In a way it's a tribute to our teamwork. We were probably nowhere to be seen and struggling when the votes were being cast.

"If they had taken the vote soon after Christmas you would have probably had a different set of results altogether.

"Things like this are not just down to personal choice, because form at the time plays a big part. It's very much an at-the-time vote rather than a measured look at the season as a whole.

"There are all sorts of anomalies. Norwich have won promotion and are probably going to win the First Division title, yet the catalyst for their success, Darren Huckerby, is not in the team.

"In fact the top two, Norwich and West Bromwich Albion, only have three players between them in the select team. I find that a bit strange.

"We can play, as I believe we have proved, but a big reason for us being in the strong position in which we find ourselves at the moment is our teamwork.

"Without spending anything, we are in contention for a play-off place. We have a good spread of goalscorers, but unfortunately we have also had a good spread of defenders due to injuries.

"At the end of the day these awards don't really mean an awful lot. That's not to say it's not nice for the player of the year – and who's going to quibble with the choice of Thierry Henry."

Royle remains upbeat, despite the obvious disappointment of Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Nottingham Forest that dented Town's play-off hopes.

He takes his team to Bramall Lane on Friday evening for a crucial clash with eighth-placed rivals Sheffield United, who are just two points worse off.

Royle said: "When Sky Sports picked this one for live coverage they were probably thinking they had an interesting game on their hands.

"But now I suppose it's a six-pointer. If we win we will effectively kill off their play-off aspirations, whereas victory for them will definitely deal us a heavy blow.

Important

"It is probably the biggest game in my time at Ipswich, although I regarded the one immediately after we went to the bottom of the table in September as pretty important!"

Royle is hopeful that both Tommy Miller, who missed the Forest clash with a hamstring injury, and skipper Jim Magilton, forced off late in that game, will be OK for the trip to Yorkshire.

He said: "Tommy wasn't that far away from playing on Saturday, so I'm hopeful that he will be fit in time.

"As for Jim, he took a heavy blow to his thigh and has a few stud marks, but knowing him wild horses wouldn't keep him away from this game."

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