Get behind the Blues, says Joe

IPSWICH Town boss Joe Royle has taken an angry swipe at Blues supporters for expressing their concern over the amount of goals Town have conceded.Royle is unhappy at criticism which has been made in newspapers, radio and internet sites at the team's defensive frailties and was particularly upset by a couple of letters which appeared in the EADT yesterday.

IPSWICH Town boss Joe Royle has taken an angry swipe at Blues supporters for expressing their concern over the amount of goals Town have conceded.

Royle is unhappy at criticism which has been made in newspapers, radio and internet sites at the team's defensive frailties and was particularly upset by a couple of letters which appeared in the EADT yesterday.

He dismissed the notion that the side had been working especially hard at set pieces during training or that there was a problem.

Royle said: “Too much is made of that. If you read our local paper in the morning we are a shambles defensively. More to the point we have conceded from set plays in four games from 15 which is a statistic that will tell you we ain't been that bad.”


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However, Royle was critical of his side's defending on Saturday, when they conceded a two-goal lead at Watford, and at the time said: “Unfortunately it was two set plays again. A corner and a free kick. Our keeper was blocked in for the corner but even so the scorer has got a free header…”

He added: “We had a 10-minute blip after going two goals up and let them come into the game. Ardley's delivery for the corner was terrific but it wasn't even one of his best ones, it was just a high corner and free header. We don't get free headers.”

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Speaking at the pre-match press conference yesterday Royle said: “Sometimes you have to give the opposition credit and it certainly was an outstanding strike and an outstanding header (at Watford).

“We work on defending and set plays all the time but no more so than normal this week.”

Town have not lost since going down 3-2 at Stoke on September 12. They have drawn five of the past seven games, picking up 11 points from a possible 27, to sit in third place, just six points behind the leaders Wigan.

Royle said: “I have to pinch myself sometimes. We are third and only three points off picking up two points a game, which is a guaranteed promotion total.

“Yet we still seem to have some negativity around us but we are staying positive and will try and win the game on Saturday.”

The Blues face Preston, who yesterday sold ace striker David Healey to Leeds United for more than £600,000, with keeper Shane Supple back on the bench.

The 17-year-old Irish keeper was outstanding for the reserves who kept a clean sheet on Monday despite him suffering a suspected broken toe.

Lewis Price will keep his place in goal with Kelvin Davis making good progress and could possibly play for Town reserves at West Ham on Wednesday, although a decision will not be made until the morning of the game.

Even though skipper Jim Magilton has been struggling with a knee injury he is also included and is likely to start after being rested at Watford. That will mean Pablo Counago probably losing his place. Trialist Sandro Grande could also be included in that squad if international clearance can be granted for the Canadian midfielder.

Blues fans continue to wait to see if Town can bring in a new player, either on loan or for a small fee.

Royle's budget was boosted by chief executive Derek Bowden's decision to forgo his £75,000 bonus payment and put it into the pot for new players.

Bowden revealed earlier in the week that Royle had funds available to spend and this money is extra to that already budgeted.

Ipswich Town squad: Price, Supple, Diallo, Wilnis, Richards, Mitchell, Naylor, De Vos, Collins, Horlock, Magilton, Miller, Westlake, Bent, Bowditch, Kuqi and Counago.

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