Joe impressed with squad strength

JOE Royle goes to his old school pal Steve Coppell's Reading on Sunday happy in the knowledge that his Ipswich side is at its strongest so far this season.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle goes to his old school pal Steve Coppell's Reading on Sunday happy in the knowledge that his Ipswich side is at its strongest so far this season.

With Nicky Forster back fit and strong and raring to go after scoring on his return from injury against Crewe, and then rapping in a hat-trick for the reserves on Monday, the Blues are in bullish mood.

Sam Parkin has recovered from a back injury, while Adam Proudlock has a chance of being involved for the first time since signing on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.


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Royle can vividly recall Town throwing away a 90th-minute lead at the Madejski Stadium last January and feels both teams have gone on from that day in different ways.

He said: “We played well that day and Reading are a bit stronger than they were.

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“I'm not surprised at Reading's progress, they have been there or thereabouts. If you analyse their last season they did well, stopped scoring and faded away.

“They have now signed (Leroy) Lita and he scores goals so I can see them being towards the top for the remainder of the season.

“That said, we go into this game as strong as we have been this season in terms of players available and we have missed Nicky.

“It is a game we know he is going to be pumped up for and I know he is desperate to play.”

While Royle appears to be pondering whether to start Forster or have him on the bench, he is also wondering whether Proudlock would benefit from some extra training with fitness coach Simon Thadani, with matches against Coventry City and Wolves to come next week.

He said: “I will have a chat with Simon about the benefits of taking him with us or leaving him here to run his legs off.

“Adam is doing well, his fitness is better than we thought and he has certainly got pace.”

Lewis Price is expected to be fit after a hip injury meant he missed making his Wales debut at Northern Ireland and then jarred fingers forced him out of the Azerbaijan game.

The keeper trained with Town yesterday and has his specially-made padded shorts as well so he should play at Reading, although Shane Supple is on stand-by.

Ian Westlake is making good progress from an ankle injury and has started running ahead of schedule.

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