Royle's words of comfort for rival

BIG-hearted Ipswich boss Joe Royle had words of comfort for opposite number Tony Pulis after Saturday's game."I've had a chat with Tony and naturally he's disappointed," said Royle, "but to be honest if we'd lost that game it would have been a travesty and he knows that.

By Mel Henderson

BIG-hearted Ipswich boss Joe Royle had words of comfort for opposite number Tony Pulis after Saturday's game.

"I've had a chat with Tony and naturally he's disappointed," said Royle, "but to be honest if we'd lost that game it would have been a travesty and he knows that.

"I knew Stoke would be

formidable opponents – they must be the biggest team in Britain – and I warned my players beforehand about their throw-ins, corners and free-kicks.

"In the past we've had an unfortunate habit of dominating sides, but still letting one in and we had our only bit of luck right at the end."

Most Read

Royle was referring to Keith Andrews' amazing 88th minute miss when his 15-yard drive first struck Kelvin Davis' right-hand post, then rolled along the line and rebounded off the inside of the other upright.

The Town boss added: "A lot of our fans probably turned up expecting another rollover after our six goals against Burnley in midweek.

"But it's never as simple as that. Stoke are a well-organised side who are difficult to break down, yet we did

actually have enough chances to score another six.

"I'm just pleased to get our seventh win in eight games and to move into the top six. I'd have settled for that six weeks ago when it was all doom and gloom."

Royle nominated striker-turned-stopper Richard Naylor as his man of the match and also observed: "Shefki Kuqi looks to have become something of a cult hero with the fans in a very short time."

Many supporters were surprised to see on-loan

midfielder Chris Bart-Williams emerge wearing the captain's armband after Jim Magilton's enforced substitution at the interval.

Royle grinned: "It was probably because he was sat next to Jim in the dressing room. No, seriously, I like my skipper to be a central player.

"Chris is a talker and a leader, so it seemed quite a logical move."

Royle saluted Matt Richards for his 43rd minute clincher and added: "The kid took a while to get going because he had a hamstring problem in pre-season.

"But he has improved in our last couple of games. He defends well and gets up and down the line, and I'm delighted with him."

Pulis said: "I was pleased with the effort and commitment of my players, but we're a little bit fluffy defensively and need to sort that out.

"I think we show we're

capable of scoring goals, but we need to tighten up at the back. Ipswich's goal was down to a mistake by us and it could have been prevented.

"I'm disappointed at not

getting anything. We could have nicked a point at the end and I still don't know how Keith's shot stayed out.

"Ipswich are a good side who played well and will

definitely be up there at the end of the season. I'm pleased for Joe – he's one of the game's good guys."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter