We'll strike goal in Sweden - Burley

GEORGE Burley will be looking for Ipswich Town's new-found scoring form to take them into the third round of the UEFA Cup at Helsingborg tomorrow night.

By Elvin King

GEORGE Burley will be looking for Ipswich Town's new-found scoring form to take them into the third round of the UEFA Cup at Helsingborg tomorrow night.

After drawing the first leg 0-0 at Portman Road a fortnight ago, Town know that if they score once at the Olympia Stadium the Swedes will need to find the net twice to go through.

And Burley is banking on his players following on their three goals at Southampton last Wednesday and two against West Ham on Sunday, with more goals that will rock the high ambitions of the Helsingborgs IF side who came fifth in the Swedish league season that ended at the weekend.

Burley and his players arrived in the Swedish town that is a similar size to Ipswich with a population of 118,000 at tea time yesterday and the players went through a light training session before going to the stadium for a full blown session this evening.

Burley said: "We have scored five times in the last couple of matches and the pleasing aspect is that the goals have returned.

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"Marcus Stewart looked back to his best when he scored twice against Southampton and although we did not beat West Ham it was a very level game which could easily have gone our way.

"Drawing 0-0 with Helsingborg was not that bad a result and even in that match Finidi George could have scored a hat-trick.

"It will be a big heavy pitch for the return leg which will make it difficult but we are in good spirits and will be working on scoring a goal or two which will make it very hard for the Swedish team to beat us on aggregate."

Burley admitted that at the moment his job carries as much pressure as it did when he first took over the managementship of Ipswich at Christmas 1994. He said then the spirit in the camp was poor and that he could not rely on his players to pull the club out of trouble.

Town were relegated at the end of that season and suffered a 9-0 defeat at Manchester United. Burley added: "Over the last few seasons everything has been rosy. But that has changed now and despite the expectations of our fans following our success last season we have now got to work harder to get the club back on track.

"Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

"I am talking to a club about bringing in a new player from abroad and I am always looking to improve the strength of the squad at Portman Road."

Burley is believed to have watched an Italian league game recently and the player concerned plays in that league.

Talking about his own future Burley added: "There are certain times in anybody's career when you need people to keep faith with you. I could not be at a better club for that and it is tremendous to be appreciated and to work for such a fine chairman and board that we have at Ipswich Town.

"My first six months in charge were very tough but I came through it and gained from that experience. I have every confidence that we will be competing in the Premiership next season, but now is the time to get us back in full stride again.

"We have worked so hard to get Ipswich back in Europe and we gave an exceptional performance in Moscow to go through from the first round of the UEFA Cup.

"Helsingborg are an exceptional side and they proved that they had quality in the first leg.

"But we are in good heart and like Bobby Robson who was manager when I was a player when Ipswich were European regulars I hate to lose and there is a passion at this club to continue to do well."

Burley public blasted his players after the 3-2 home defeat by West Ham and it will be interesting to see how they respond in this seaport town where the players woke up this morning to an overcast sky and forecasts for a wet and windy day.

Over 2,000 fans are expected to be supporting Ipswich at the game tomorrow night and the atmosphere will be such that the Town players will have every cause to forget about their league blues and make another memorable night for the club.

Burley confirmed that John McGreal is a doubt because of his back injury while Jermaine Wright will also have a fitness test after suffering from a hamstring strain at the weekend.

Burley said: "There was a touch of cramp about Jermaine's injury and we will see how he goes in training. It is nice to have Gary Croft back available after his hernia and back problems, and Titus Bramble is also close to fitness and if he suffers no reaction today he may well be available to come back."

Town Chairman David Sheepshanks celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday and would like nothing more than a win tomorrow as the perfect gift.

He has pledged his support for the Town manager and says that Burley will be the man to stay in charge and bring the club back to the Premiership even if they are relegated at the end of the season.

Sheepshanks said: "We are confident we can stay up but continuity is a big plus at football clubs and we have every faith in George and his team to keep success coming to Portman Road."

Sheepshanks' wife Mona is Swedish so there will be a certain rivalry in the family at tomorrow's game. But Mrs Sheepshanks said on arrival in Helsingborg: "I was born in Gothenburg and brought up I Stockholm so have no contacts with the Helsingborg area. It is nice to be back in Sweden of course but my full allegiance will naturally be with Ipswich Town."

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