Blues don't fear Wright's return

BLUES boss Joe Royle does not fear the return of prodigal son Jermaine Wright, who shunned an offer of a new contract with Town for the promised riches of Leeds United.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle does not fear the return of prodigal son Jermaine Wright, who shunned an offer of a new contract with Town for the promised riches of Leeds United.

It is quite common for players going back to their old club to want to do well but Royle is not concerned about Wright who, he admits, was the third most painful rejection he had to take.

Town have already seen the return of John McGreal, who almost caused pain by anchoring a staunch Burnley defence in the 1-1 draw at Portman Road but didn't fare quite so well as Town won 2-0 at Turf Moor.

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And Chris Makin was relatively quiet in the two-goal fight-back at Leicester City, so Royle is hoping for third time unlucky for Wright's return, despite the rule that players turn it on against their old clubs.

Royle said: “They usually do, but up until now we have done okay with John McGreal and Chris Makin when they have played against us.

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“We have not lost to either of them, although we do need to win our home game.

“In the order of things Jermaine was the third least player we wanted to lose. But we have not missed him, inasmuch as Kevin Horlock has come in and has been outstanding.

“I wish Jamma all the best. We made a decision which was purely monetary and he is no doubt happy with life - and richer.”

Reports from Leeds suggest Wright, who was struggling to make the first team, has struck up a good partnership with striker David Healy, who is thriving on the service from last season's Players' Player of the Year at Ipswich.

Royle said: “I'm not concerned about that, it is more about what we do.”

The club have already sold 29,000 tickets, including 3,000 to the Yorkshire club and the remaining seats at the backs and sides of the stands will be available today, although there will be no cash turnstiles open tomorrow.

Royle is relishing the traditionally attractive opposition but knows Town have their own reputation to uphold.

He said: “The name Leeds United always seems to bring out the best and worse in opposition supporters. It goes back a long way, I know, so I'm sure our fans will be up for it.

“There are usually goals, so there is always value for money.”

Town have not failed to score at home since last December when Norwich City were the visitors. Their form at the moment is outstanding, after going 10 games without loss, but the ability to win when not playing at the top of the game is also vital for Royle.

He said: “Out of three victories, while the Burnley game was the least glamourous for me, it was the best win as it was an omen. It shows we can win games when we are not at our best.

“We were a tight unit and never really in any trouble. When we are at our free-flowing best I fancy us against anyone but it is the other result that will matter in the long run of a promotion issue.

“You can't be at your best every week and it is these results you pick up when you are not at your best that are important.”

Town will be helped by keeping an unchanged side from the one that defeated Burnley last week.

n Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent will team up together once more when England Under-21s play Spain in an away friendly next week.

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