Town for promotion: Brown

JOE Royle, hot favourite to be named First Division manager of the month for October, received a further accolade at the weekend.Craig Brown, the boss of Preston and a former manager of Scotland, lavished praise on the Ipswich Town supremo.

By Elvin King

JOE Royle, hot favourite to be named First Division manager of the month for October, received a further

accolade at the weekend.

Craig Brown, the boss of Preston and a former manager of Scotland, lavished praise on the Ipswich Town supremo.


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After his side had been put under tremendous pressure during an excellent second-half performance by Town, Brown said: "Joe is quality and so is his side.

"If we finish above them we will be promoted. I am sure Ipswich will go up to the Premiership, as they are the best side I have seen in the First Division this season.

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"They have quality right through the club – at manager, coach and player levels.

"Joe and Willie Donachie have gone up from this division before with Oldham and Manchester City – and they are set to do it again."

Brown's side were much the better in the first period at rainy Deepdale on Saturday, but Ipswich came back well to maintain their excellent record for this month – five wins and one draw.

Brown added: "A draw was a fair result and although we may have been disappointed at dropping two home points in this case I am happy.

"Ipswich put us under the hammer after we had enjoyed the best of the first period. They are the form team and a very good one.

"I thought Joe's side was magnificent during the second half with some excellent vibrant young players and a front two who complement each other and are a real handful.

"Joe's youngsters move sweetly and the team has a good balance with pace at the back. Ricardo Fuller normally outruns his markers but he could not do this against Ipswich.

"We may have been under

pressure, but we still did well to

create two good chances with

crosses into the box in the second half."

What particularly impressed Brown was the manner in which Ipswich warmed up.

"Willie Donachie and Tony Mowbray had their players on their toes and this is the best pre-match routine I have seen. I thought our warm-up was good but it is nothing on Ipswich's. It set the tone for their play. I have great respect for Joe."

Royle was satisfied with the point – and is looking forward to a whole week's rest before the next match after his side's Carling Cup exit at the hands of Notts County.

He said: "Some might say that it is a setback to lose out on two points, but I would have accepted a draw at half-time.

"We have to endure a great deal of travelling from our geographical position and it does take a toll, as we were fatigued at the start.

"But full marks to the players for raising the tempo after the interval when we pushed Fabian Wilnis

further forward. We played some

terrific stuff and Pablo Counago came alive in the secong half."

Royle had special praise for Jermaine Wright. He said: "He was outstanding again, and continued his fine form. Chris Bart-Williams was a bit 'leggy' after the game at Palace last Tuesday and Tommy Miller came on as we need to give him 30-minute stints to regain full

fitness.

"In many ways I am as pleased with this fightback as I was with some of our wins this month. If anybody was going to win the match in the last part of the game it was us."

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