Former Ipswich Town boss bemused by ‘cheap’ Jordan Rhodes sale

Joe Royle

Joe Royle - Credit: Tommy Hindley

Former Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle hopes the controversial decision to sell Jordan Rhodes does not destroy the Blues’ play-off dreams at Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

Fifth-placed Town require just a point from their final game of the season, at Ewood Park, to guarantee a play-off berth, but are likely to come up against a player who has scored 158 league and cup goals in 288 games since leaving Suffolk for Huddersfield, for an undisclosed six-figure fee, in 2009.

The £8m striker has scored in three of Rovers’ last four games against Town and could partner 19-goal Rudy Gestede in attack.

Royle is confident Town will get the job done, but with play-off hopefuls Brentford and Wolves, just outside the top six, hosting two teams that could be relegated if Rotherham defeat Reading tonight – Wigan and Millwall – the 66-year-old is a little concerned. “I have never understood why Ipswich sold Jordan Rhodes,” said Royle, who steered Town to successive play-off campaigns in 2004 and 2005.

“One of the last things I told the club before leaving was ‘look after Jordan’, but they sold him and sold him cheaply.

“His goalscoring record is the best outside the top flight and he is a danger.

“It won’t be easy with what is at stake but Mick (McCarthy) is an experienced manager, has a well-organised team and I think they will do what is required.”

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Royle managed Town for four years, but also played for East Anglian rivals Norwich, as well as spending a short time on the backroom staff at Carrow Road in the summer.

As it stands, Ipswich would host fourth-placed Norwich in the first leg of the play-offs on Saturday, May 9.

“The Ipswich fans have been loyal and I remember the support they gave us in the play-offs at West Ham, they were terrific,” recalled Royle.

“They still have a Premier League set-up there and, with split loyalties, it would be nice to see both teams go up.

“The derbies create great passion and fever.”