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Royle's 'hothouse' call

PUBLISHED: 14:56 02 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town boss Joe Royle said today that he is hoping a "Portman Road hothouse" can help scupper Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Saturday.

The defiant Blues chief declared ahead of the First Division promotion play-off six pointer: "A bit of what Sheffield United got when they came here is what is required, and it can happen.

IPSWICH Town boss Joe Royle said today that he is hoping a "Portman Road hothouse" can help scupper Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Saturday.

The defiant Blues chief declared ahead of the First Division promotion play-off six pointer: "A bit of what Sheffield United got when they came here is what is required, and it can happen."

In that 3-2 early February win over the Blades, Town won 3-2 despite having Spanish striker Pablo Counago sent off early on.

"I felt we were playing with 12 men that day. I really did," said Royle.

He continued: "The team played so hard that they made up for the lost man and the 26,000 plus crowd were so tremendous in getting behind us that they were, in themselves, worth another player out there on the field.

"A repeat of that on Saturday can really make life difficult for Forest and good for us.

Seventh placed Ipswich are two points behind the sixth club Wolves, four off fifth spot Forest, six adrift of next club Reading and eight away from Sheffield United.

Royle said: "Forest are well catchable and it is a particularly crucial game as they are the team we can actually influence ourselves over the remaining games. Wolves are obviously in our sights, Reading are catchable too and even up to Sheffield."

The manager of the month for March Blues chief, whose side have been really boosted by Saturday's storming win 3-1 at Gillingham, went on: "I say Sheffield United too as they have other things on their minds with the FA Cup semi-final coming up."

Weekend visitors Forest, who will include former Town top marksman David Johnson, have a particularly difficult run-in with, apart from Ipswich, the likes of Leicester, Wolves, Sheffield United and Reading to encounter.

"I'd be a liar if said I hadn't looked at the Forest run in, as I have them all," said Royle who went on: "But at the moment we target them all. No one in particular. They are all catchable, and hopefully will be even more so after a good win for us on Saturday.

"But you can only look one game ahead and Forest are well in view. A win by us against them on Saturday would be a mighty blow for them."

A Town side unbeaten in nine games have injury worries leading up to the visit of a team they lost to 2-1 at the City Ground in late November.

Striker Darren Bent has a slight hamstring tear and is a very big doubt. But Royle says: "We're not writing him off totally yet."

Bent came off in the second half at Gillingham while central defender Thomas Gaardsoe made an early exit due to a groin injury.

The Dane is said to have a 50-50 chance of being fit to play against Paul Hart's Midlanders.

On the long-term injury front, John McGreal, Mark Venus and Finidi George are all stepping up the training.

"To have any of them available for any part of this season would be a bonus," added Royle.


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