Lady Luck is welcome at Portman Road

JOE Royle has embraced Lady Luck with welcoming arms and has invited her to stay for the season.

JOE Royle has embraced Lady Luck with welcoming arms and has invited her to stay for the season, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues boss admitted Town were fortunate to come away with a point from Nottingham Forest but, after failing to get much in the way of luck last season, he hopes things carry on at Derby tomorrow and beyond.

Forest hit the woodwork three times in the 1-1 draw at the City Ground as the Blues hung on for a draw. Royle said: "We were kissed by Lady Luck and I wouldn't mind that being a trend for the season. We didn't often get the rub of the green last season so perhaps it is our turn now."

With a virtually fully-fit squad to choose from going to Pride Park, Royle should not need to depend too much on luck against a Derby side who have yet to pick up a point.

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But he warned George Burley's side would be no pushover. Royle said: "We have had their games watched and they have played very well in both. They were slightly unfortunate to lose against Leicester and Leeds, to say the least.

"But the thing is, they have no points and it is our job to go there and make sure it stays that way."

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Royle is unbeaten against Derby since taking over from Burley in October, 2002 with three wins and a draw, but is taking nothing for granted.

He said: "George is building a good team there and they have a some good youngsters so we they will make it difficult."

Th trip to Pride Park has usually been popular with Town supporters, too, with around 3,000 expected to make the trip tomorrow.

Royle was impressed with the 1,500 fans who were at Nottingham on Wednesday and insisted they can make a difference. He said: "It was a great turn out at Forest and they cheered us throughout so we could do with that again at Derby."

Jim Magilton will not make it as he waits on a tear in a thigh muscle to repair and will have another scan on Monday.

Jason De Vos will skipper the side after suffering no reaction to a knee injury he went into the Forest game with, while Shekfi Kuqi could end up losing his place to Pablo Counago.

The team went swimming and for some light gym work yesterday as part of their warm-down day and will train this morning before taking the coach to the Midlands this afternoon.

Town are likely to stick with a 4-4-2 formation unless Tony Dinning is rested after playing Wednesday for the first time in some while. In that case Dean Bowditch will make up the three in attack.

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