Just a clean sheet please

ALL Joe Royle wants for his birthday is a few clean sheets.The Blues boss, who will be 55 tomorrow will also celebrate taking charge of his 980th game as a manager, when Town travel to Rotherham United on Saturday.

ALL Joe Royle wants for his birthday is a few clean sheets.

The Blues boss, who will be 55 tomorrow will also celebrate taking charge of his 980th game as a manager, when Town travel to Rotherham United on Saturday.

With six games left to reach the play-offs Royle is desperate to see his side stop leaking goals and is already looking to make changes in personnel and attitude for next season.

Royle said: "I don't even mention it to Kelvin Davis any more as I feel really sorry for him. He has had a smashing season overall and is probably in line for Player Of The Year, but has not had as many clean sheets as he deserves.


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"It has not always been our fault either and nor has luck been with us.

"Things have not fallen for us, we have either hit the woodwork or had shots cleared off the line, whereas they have gone in for other sides.

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"I will take my share of the blame as well. Perhaps we have been too cavalier and we need to look for a better balance.

"Whatever division we are in next season we will need to look at changes. We will need to bring in different players, perhaps not necessarily better players, just some who think more defensively.

"When we had Chris Bart-Williams fit and at his best he gave us that balance and his back problems have been costly to us defensively."

Royle said £10m would solve the defensive problems when asked immediately after the last-gasp defeat by West Brom on Sunday, but admits he answered a little hastily.

He said: "I was being flippant when I said that and it was not meant as a slight on any of our players.

"I have never had lots of money to spend anyway and the players I have bought for large amounts, Andrei Kanchelskis, Gary Speed and Nicky Barmby, have all been sold on for a profit."

Royle said he had every intention of being at Portman Road to complete the 1,000 game milestone and achieve the ambition of taking Town into the Premiership.

n Read Joe Royle's column in tomorrow's EADT

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