Few crumbs for Joe

JOE Royle took a few crumbs of comfort from the defeat against West Ham and is already looking at toppling league leaders West Bromwich Albion.The Town manager saw enough in the Blues' performance against newly-relegated Hammers to feel confident about the remainder of the season.

JOE Royle took a few crumbs of comfort from the defeat against West Ham and is already looking at toppling league leaders West Bromwich Albion.

The Town manager saw enough in the Blues' performance against newly-relegated Hammers to feel confident about the remainder of the season.

He said: "In between their goals we were the better side. The difference in the first half was a phenomenal finish from Defoe and two outstanding saves from James. Counago on another day could have had three goals."

Town had two appeals for a spot kick turned down, both for fouls on Alun Armstrong, when Matthew Kilgallon tripped him and when David James cleaned out in a challenge for a lofted Jim Magilton pass.


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The Hammers twice cleared their lines with the England keeper beaten, while James made a number of stunning saves.

Royle lamented: "We might have had one penalty, may be even two but we are not getting the breaks. The second goal goes in, another great finish and nothing went for us. That happens to you when you are on a bad run."

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Apart from Kevin Davis clearing his lines comfortably, and the occasional clever pass from deep, there were again no signs of the long ball which some people have started criticising Royle for and the Blues boss was happy to point out that the passing game was back on track.

He said: "We played some good football which was important and contrary to rumours at the moment. We passed the ball very well and passed our way through them. We did not deserve to lose the game and if we can take some crumbs of comfort there were some good signs.

"We had a good shape, we passed the ball very well at times as was shown when Pablo in particular got in on goal only to be stopped by James' massive frame."

With the Crystal Palace game called off due to international call-ups, Town's next match is away at leaders West Bromwich Albion on September 13.

And Royle has already formulated a plan to stem the tide and start to turn things around.

He said: "I know in my mind the team for the next game and we don't really need a break at the moment."

A number of first-team squad members could be on duty on Wednesday when Town reserves take on Arsenal at Portman Road.

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