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Fringe players face more heartache

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

JOE Royle has warned that more heartache for players is inevitable as Ipswich Town continue to trim costs.

Speaking in the wake of the recent departures of fringe players Justin Miller, Robert Dickinson, Steve Burton and Richard Logan, the Blues boss admits he is having to be ruthless.

JOE Royle has warned that more heartache for players is inevitable as Ipswich Town continue to trim costs, writes Derek Davis.

Speaking in the wake of the recent departures of fringe players Justin Miller, Robert Dickinson, Steve Burton and Richard Logan, the Blues boss admits he is having to be ruthless.

He said: "I have never been one for keeping players around just to stiffen the reserves. So unfortunately there will be some more heartbreak to come for players who are not going to make it in the first team."

Royle also paid tribute to reserve-team boss Steve McCall, who has a difficult job juggling first-teamers and young players in his squad.

Town won the Premier Reserve League last season, but are now third from bottom and entertain second from top Fulham at Portman Road tonight.

Royle added: "I have apologised to Steve in advance because it is the hardest job in every club in the country.

"He will have first-team players disgruntled at being in the reserves, he will have kids who are not quite good enough for the first team and other kids who are in because there is no one else. He could have five changes every week.

"We have got a very successful reserve team at the moment because we have players like Matt Richards, Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent who are also in the first-team squad and that is the criteria of how you really measure their success."

Lee Beevers, who has also told he can find another club, is included in tonight's reserve side and has attracted interest from Boston United and Sheffield United, who will be watching him tonight.

Alun Armstrong is looking to show he has recovered from a hamstring pull to push for a return to the first team, although with the many scouts in attendance it would be no surprise if someone was close to asking about taking him on loan.

Martijn Reuser and Richard Naylor were both originally pencilled in to play but have picked up minor injuries.

Reuser, who injured himself after slipping and accidentally doing the splits in training, told the EADT last week how he was still determined to do his best for Town even though he had been surprised at being given a free transfer.

Town's next Division One opponents, Sheffield United, who are today enjoying a sunshine break in La Manga, have taken Marcel Cas on a non-contract basis until the end of the season.

Cas made 50 appearances for Notts County in an 18-month stint after joining in 2001 from Dutch side RBC Roosenald.

The Blades are also hoping to secure Manchester City defender Paul Ritchie on loan from Maine Road in time for the trip to Portman Road.

Ritchie was with Portsmouth when Town drew at Fratton Park in December and is looking to secure a three-month stint at Bramall Lane.

Manager Neil Warnock took his players on the three-day Spanish jaunt in good heart after winning the Manager of the Month award for January and agreeing to sign a new two-year deal upon his return.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Pullen, Bloomfield, Richards, Beevers, Hogg, Abidallah, Westlake, Murray, Bowditch, Robinson, Armstrong, Mitchell, Morrow, Peat, Bonwick and Boardley.


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