Royle's boys face double mission

IPSWICH will be on a double mission when they tackle Stoke at Portman Road tomorrow.Boss Joe Royle is urging his players to win and put on a show to help boost season ticket sales.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH will be on a double mission when they tackle Stoke at Portman Road tomorrow.

Boss Joe Royle is urging his players to win and put on a show to help boost season ticket sales.

Royle, who must wait before naming a starting line-up because of several injury concerns, said: “We need the brass to go forward with our ambition.


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“There will be a captive audience and we want to impress them.

“We want to play well and win for them - and show them that we are going to be good next season.”

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Royle is also looking for a huge improvement on last week's performance in the

1-0 defeat at Luton, which left Town without a win in five games.

He added: “The players are keen to put that one behind them.

“It was a poor pitch - it must be the worst in this division - but it was abysmal for both teams so we're not using that as an excuse.

“Our best players were at the back, but we still need to keep more clean sheets. I would imagine all the leading contenders to be named Player of the Year will be defenders, which tells the story of our season.”

Tomorrow's main injury doubt is striker Alan Lee, who is struggling to shake off a groin problem and until Royle knows whether the four-goal former Cardiff man is fit or not he cannot formulate his plans.

Royle wants Richard Naylor to revert to his defensive role after operating alongside Lee at Luton last week, but admitted it might be necessary for him to

continue up front.

He said: “Alan's fitness holds the key. Until I know whether he's going to be available or not I haven't a clue what the team will be.”

Skipper Jim Magilton (foot) and defender Jay McEveley (knee) are also doubtful, but whatever his team Royle is adamant there is still a lot riding on Town's remaining five games.

He added: “If we can't finish sixth I want us to finish seventh. If we did that it would be fantastic with what's happened to us this season.”

Tomorrow's referee, Patrick Miller, will be making his Championship debut in what is his first season as a Football League official.

SQUADS

Ipswich: Supple, Wilnis, Sito, Casement, Naylor, De Vos, McEveley, Barron, Juan, Magilton, Garvan, Richards, Skard, Currie, Lee, Haynes, Bowditch, McDonald, Price.

Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Broomes, Hill, Buxton, Duberry, Dickinson, Junior, Skoko, Russell, Sweeney, Chadwick, Bangoura, Sigurd-sson, Sidibe, Wilkinson, Gall-agher, Brammer, Kopteff, De Goey.

Referee: Patrick Miller (Bedfordshire).

Town striker Dean McDonald, who has been told he will not be offered a new contract, is attracting interest from Colchester, Blackpool and Boston. Teenager James Krause will sign a one-year professional contract after proving his fitness in two reserve games.

An Ipswich X1 will play at Leiston on April 26 as part of the Ridgeons League club's 125th anniversary celebrations.

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