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Royle top boss for March

PUBLISHED: 20:00 01 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

JOE Royle today received a wake-up call with a difference – to be told he had been crowned Nationwide Manager of the Month for March.

Royle laughed: "They caught me cold with the news.

JOE Royle today received a wake-up call with a difference – to be told he had been crowned Nationwide Manager of the Month for March.

Royle laughed: "They caught me cold with the news. I was still in bed when the phone rang!"

The Ipswich boss scooped the award courtesy of an eight-game unbeaten run that has rocketed Town into the promotion frame.

He will be presented with his magnum of champagne before Saturday's vital home clash with play-off rivals Nottingham Forest.

Only too aware of the award's jinx reputation, he admitted: "I would like to keep it all very low profile, but I realise that's not possible."

Royle has taken his in-form team to within two points of sixth-placed Wolves and fans are now dreaming of a Premiership return.

Ipswich were stranded fourth from bottom of the table when Royle took charge on October 28 last year and it has been a case of steady improvement ever since.

The accolade is also an early birthday present for the Ipswich manager, who will be 54 in a week's time.

That Town are in such a strong position against a backdrop of financial uncertainty is a tribute to Royle and his depleted squad of players.

The club was plunged into administration eight weeks ago, but performances have not suffered and the team has lost just twice in 20 league games.

Royle paid tribute to his players when he said: "The administrators running the club are concerned about figures, whereas we have just concentrated on our football. This award is for everybody involved with the first team – not just myself but Willie Donachie, Tony Mowbray, Malcolm Webster and, not least of all, the players.

"I'm not just saying it – it really is a team effort. I'm delighted to accept it on behalf of the team and, let's be honest, we need a bit of good news at the moment."

Royle added: "We've never really felt out of it. We have cursed the home draws, but we have had good away wins at some difficult venues.

"It is good for the supporters to have something to cheer towards the end of the season. We have six games left, but hopefully it will be nine."


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