Joe backs Town for promotion push

JOE Royle today backed his predecessor Jim Magilton to lead Ipswich Town back to the Premier League this season.Royle, who was replaced by Magilton in the Blues' hot seat in the summer of 2006, said that he fancied Ipswich for promotion before a ball had been kicked.

By Elvin King

JOE Royle today backed his successor Jim Magilton to lead Ipswich Town back to the Premier League this season.

Royle, who was replaced by Magilton in the Blues' hot seat in the summer of 2006, said that he fancied Ipswich for promotion before a ball had been kicked.

“Having seen them play, and with extra cash that should be available following the proposed major investment, I am even more upbeat,” said Royle, who is in talks with Leicester City about taking over as the Foxes' manager.

“Ipswich have strength where it matters with Jason De Vos at the heart of the defence and Alan Lee scoring goals up front.

“They have a fantastic chance of going up, particularly with the Championship being as weak this season as I can remember it.”

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Royle is backing Ipswich to beat Norwich in Sunday's Coca-Cola Championship derby at Carrow Road

He said: “Jim has his team playing good football and he is doing fine. He appears to have had a bit more cash available to him than I had, but was still under restraint.”

The wily Royle, who has also managed at Oldham, Everton and Manchester City, warned Magilton over the new riches that reclusive businessman Marcus Evans' investment will bring to the club.

“This will present a new pressure for Jim,” said Royle. “Mr Evans has not got where he has by sitting back and letting things happen. He will see the Premier League as his target.”

Looking ahead to the Norwich game that Ormskirk-based Royle plans to watch live on satellite television, the 58-year-old said:

“Ipswich will never have a better chance as Norwich have struggled badly for much of the season.

“Jim and his team will feel they can collect three points after their two good home wins - and I think they will.

“New Norwich manager Glenn Roeder is a good man and a good operator, but I am backing Ipswich on Sunday.”

Royle is happy for seven-goal Lee saying that it is nice when the good guys come out on top.

And he expects the Town Academy to continue to produce talented footballers picking Owen Garvan out for special mention and predicting that Shane Supple will in due course make the number one position his own.

“And striker Jordan Rhodes will be the next one to make an impact,” added Royle, who says that his £300,000 Town signing Gavin Williams could prove to be a trump card in the second half of this season.

“Gavin has had his silly interludes, but he is not a malicious lad.

“He has suffered too many injuries, but once he gets fully fit he can give Ipswich a massive lift.”

Royle, already aware of Leicester City's two December dates with Ipswich, said of the chances of him taking the Foxes' vacant managerial position:

“I am currently talking to them and this shows an element of interest on their part.”

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