Royle still has play-off dream

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is refusing to let go of his play-off dream.But as he prepared his troops for the expected battle against Burnley at the weekend, he admitted: “It's a big ask, a long shot if you like.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is refusing to let go of his play-off dream.

But as he prepared his troops for the expected battle against Burnley at the

weekend, he admitted: “It's a big ask, a long shot if you like.

“However, I'm certainly not going to say it is beyond us. If we continue our good run over what's left of the season, who knows what might happen.”

Town are unbeaten in six league games, making them the most in-form team in the Championship, but they still trail sixth-placed Preston by the considerable margin of ten points.

And Billy Davies' team, along with Crystal Palace and Leeds who are directly above them, all have a game in hand.

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It will need at least one of them to suffer a sudden slump in form for one of

the current outsiders to

gatecrash the top six.

But in-form Ipswich are not ready to admit it is a lost cause when they have 14 games worth a possible 42 points still up for grabs.

Royle expects his side's play-off credentials to be

tested at Portman Road in 48 hours' time when tenth-placed Burnley are the visitors.

Victory for Town will take them above the Clarets, but Royle warned: “I see Saturday's game as a very dangerous one.

“For the first time in a long time, thanks to our recent run, we will probably be regarded as favourites to win it.

“But anyone thinking we can just turn up and cruise all over Burnley needs a

reality check. They are one of the most stubborn sides around and will be very hard to beat.”

Town fans will make their way to the stadium on Saturday ready to party after the team's well-deserved East Anglian derby success at Norwich last weekend.

Royle added: “I think the Carrow Road result and performance had been coming for a few weeks.

“We were playing well not so long ago without getting the results but it has all come together nicely in our last few games.

“But with a ten-point gap to close between now and the end of April it is vital that we keep it going and extend our run of wins.”

Teenage goalkeeper Shane Supple is on the mend after missing the Norwich game with a virus, so Royle will have to decide whether to retain former number one Lewis Price against Burnley.

Adam Proudlock has also been under the weather over the past few days, while Nicky Forster remains sidelined after a second cartilage operation.

Sam Parkin is back in training but needs a reserve game or two, while 18-year-old Danny Haynes is already a certain non-starter after picking up an ankle injury at Carrow Road.

With so few attacking options, Royle is likely to push Darren Currie up alongside Lee for the visit of Steve Cotterill's men.

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