Cup defeat a blow to Royle's plans

BLUES boss Joe Royle has admitted that while Tuesday's defeat at Doncaster Rovers was not devastating in itself it has hit his plans to bring in loan players, writes Derek Davis.

BLUES boss Joe Royle has admitted that while Tuesday's defeat at Doncaster Rovers was not devastating in itself it has hit his plans to bring in loan players, writes Derek Davis.

Royle has been trying to bring in reinforcements since the summer and has lately been linked with Crystal Palace's Dougie Freedman and West Brom's Darren Moore, with both saying they would prefer to stay at their Premiership clubs.

Royle is working on a deal to bring in a new player, but hopes of another after that took a blow in the 2-0 defeat to League One side Rovers.

He said: “I'm not devastated at getting knocked out of the Carling Cup but what it does is it closes a funding avenue for us to bring in loan players and our loan budget at the moment is very small.”

The Blues lack of depth was exposed in midweek but thankfully Royle has a fully-fit squad to choose from when they take on newly-promoted Plymouth tomorrow.

Kelvin Davis, Kevin Horlock and Fabian Wilnis will return in place of Lewis Price, Tony Dinning and Matt Richards, while the formation is likely to revert to 4-4-2 at the expense of Dean Bowditch with Pablo Counago and Darren Bent up front.

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After a storming start to the season Argyle have slipped to ninth place following three straight defeats.

But Royle has seen enough of them to know they will be dangerous, especially at Town's Achilles heel - set-pieces.

He said: “Plymouth have had a good start and are a good team. They have no obvious stars but they all work for each other.

“They have experience with the likes of Mickey Evans up front, while the centre-backs are a good pairing who seem to know each other well.

“Tony Capaldi is a young lad who is already an international so they have good players.

“They have not changed too much since they came up but what they have is a good togetherness, and dare I say it they are very good at corners.”

The Blues are unbeaten at home since last April, with a 100% record at Portman Road this season.

After failing to win in their last three games, all on the road, Royle is looking for Town to get back on track tomorrow.

He said: “We have had a good start at home and it is important to maintain that. We also need to exorcise Tuesday night's performance where we melted.

“We have not won for a couple of games and while I thought we played well against West Ham we were poor at Stoke and I was disappointed with us at Doncaster.

“That said it has still been a good start for us in the league.”

After a brief flirtation with the top of the table the Blues are now nestled in fourth place, although victory could take them back into first place if other results go their way.

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