Royle: Watch out Wigan

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today turned up the heat on promotion rivals Wigan when he promised: “Any slip-ups and we're ready to cash in.”The Latics must fail to win one of their remaining two games if Town, already guaranteed a play-off place, are to have any chance of automatically regaining their Premiership status after a three-year gap.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today turned up the heat on promotion rivals Wigan when he promised: “Any slip-ups and we're ready to cash in.”

The Latics must fail to win one of their remaining two games if Town, already guaranteed a play-off place, are to have any chance of automatically regaining their Premiership status after a three-year gap.

“We're now down to a two-game season,” said Royle. “I'd rather be in Wigan's position - they only need four points to make sure of going straight up while we need six.

“But they will know they cannot afford to slip up. If they do, we must make sure we are in a position to take full advantage.”

Royle saw his team draw 1-1 with Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday, while Wigan were surprisingly held to a goalless stalemate at home to QPR in what appeared to be the least arduous of their final three games.

But he added: “I have heard people trying to make a case for us being in a better position now than we were before the weekend games.

Most Read

“However, the way I see it we now have one game less to play as we try to catch Wigan. I think they are in a better position, but it could change.”

By the time Ipswich kick off against Crewe at Portman Road on Saturday, they will know how Wigan have fared in what appears a far more difficult task.

Paul Jewell's men must travel to nearby Preston for a game that is being broadcast live on Sky Sports, with a 12.15pm start.

And if the Town players want to join the armchair audience to see how their main rivals fare, Royle will have no objection.

He said: “There's no way of stopping the lads finding out how Wigan have got on, so if they

want to watch it on television it will be fine by me.

“I honestly don't know if it's an advantage or a disadvantage that Wigan have the earlier start and we will know their result before we go out.

“I'm not sure it makes a difference either way. Our job will be the same - we will be going out to beat Crewe no matter what happens with Wigan.

“I fully expect us to be going to Brighton on the last day of the season with the situation still unresolved and everything to play for.”

Royle knows his team blew an opportunity to draw level with Wigan when they failed to bag all three points at Leeds.

He added: “We let a good chance go at Elland Road when we were by far the better team. Had we won that game Leeds could not have had any complaints.

“But we have not been as free-scoring away from home since Christmas as we were earlier in the season. It is hard to put my finger on the reason why.

“I am not going to criticise the players because, overall, they have done great. They are all doing their best and I have no complaints on that score.”

Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, absent at Leeds because he travelled back home to Bury St Edmunds on Saturday morning after his wife gave birth to a baby boy, is the only Ipswich player in the PFA Championship select side.

The team, chosen after a poll of players at that level, was: Davis (Ipswich), Alexander (Preston), Huddlestone (Derby), Breen (Sunderland), McCartney (Sunderland), Bullard (Wigan), Sidwell (Reading), Arca (Sunderland), Idiakez (Derby), Ellington and Roberts (both Wigan).

Remaining games

Wigan: Preston (A), Reading (H).

Ipswich: Crewe (H), Brighton (A).

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