Low-key build-up for Royle
JOE Royle is taking an introspective approach to Ipswich Town's FA Cup clash at Sheffield United tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.While Neil Warnock's side have enjoyed much hype, and one defeat in 16 games, Town have quietly gone about their business and built up a steady record of nine games without defeat.
JOE Royle is taking an introspective approach to Ipswich Town's FA Cup clash at Sheffield United tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.
While Neil Warnock's side have enjoyed much hype, and one defeat in 16 games, Town have quietly gone about their business and built up a steady record of nine games without defeat.
The Blades have played four live television matches in succession and more is known about them since Town's last visit there in November, when they drew 0-0.
Royle said: "I don't want to dwell on them too much. They are playing well and they have to be respected for that but it is more down to us and what we do.
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"Although it is not a league game, they are in the same division and when we are playing at our best we can impose ourselves on anyone. We spoke about Sheffield United for five minutes and an hour and 25 minutes about ourselves, and as I see it that is the right ratio."
Ipswich are unbeaten in nine games and have moved to within two points of the top six while the Blades are hovering in third place and closing in on leaders Portsmouth and Leicecter City, so both teams will have an eye on their Division One clash at Portman Road in a fortnight.
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Royle added: "Both teams are feeling positive and progressive and they will be looking at a top two position. This is a bit of a probing game for both teams with the league match coming up in a fortnight.
"As much as we both like to be in, and respect the FA Cup, we would prefer three points if there was a choice."
United were knocked out of the Worthington Cup at the semi-final stage after losing at Anfield on Tuesday night but Neil Warnock believes beating Ipswich will set them on another exciting cup run.
Royle is not falling for any tiredness talk.
"They are high on adrenaline. When we had our good cup run with Oldham we played something like 66 games and it was only the last couple of games when the tiredness showed.
"I'm sure Neil will have given them plenty of rest. I know that, while he was smiling and saying on television how much Ipswich will be loving the extra time – and I have to admit I wasn't disappointed – I don't think it will make a vast difference."
Richard Naylor picked up an Achilles injury while playing centre-back for the reserves against Leicester on Wednesday. He missed training yesterday but is expected to recover in time to take his place in the squad travelling to south Yorkshire today.
Alun Armstrong came off in the game against Leicester with a tight hamstring and will not be included. Otherwise Royle has no new injury worries and young defender Matt Richards will travel.
Mark Venus needs minor surgery to sort out a suspected tear in the knee while John McGreal is still a couple of weeks away from playing following his knee ligament damage.
United will be without Nick Montgomery, who chipped a bone in an ankle in the cup defeat at Anfied, while Shaun Murphy, who broke his nose after clashing with Emile Heskey, is a doubt.
Michael Tonge is banned after picking up five bookings, but his sixth, against Sheffield Wednesday, has been rescinded, although it makes no difference to Saturday's suspension.
United also have new signing Richard Edghill, a player Royle knows well from his Manchester City days. He goes straight into the squad although is unlikely to start as he is short of match fitness.
French triallist Yohan Bouzin has returned to Lorient after a short trial with Ipswich, who will not be following up their interest in him for the moment.