Roberts move sparks concerns

IWAN Roberts is today set to sign for Gillingham, sparking security concerns when they visit Ipswich Town in the first game of the season, writes Derek Davis.

IWAN Roberts is today set to sign for Gillingham, sparking security concerns when they visit Ipswich Town in the first game of the season, writes Derek Davis.

It is understood hundreds of Norwich City fans are planning to be at Portman Road when their former hero makes his Gills debut.

While many Canaries fans are already trying to buy tickets in the away section, Ipswich Town officials are concerned many more will infiltrate the home supporters' areas of the stadium.

Only 831 Gills fans travelled to Ipswich last November when the two sides met and Town staff will be monitoring sales closely this season.


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Although it is not believed City fans will travel to Portman Road specifically to cause trouble the enmity between the two sets of supporters is potentially explosive.

Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent police will liaise with Blues security chiefs at Portman Road to prevent problems.

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Their fears may be allayed if Roberts is handed a ban by the FA after they confirmed they were investigating comments in his autobiography where the Welshman admitting deliberately stamping on then Wolves defender Kevin Muscat, who now plays for Millwall.

Roberts could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute with parallels drawn with Roy Keane, who admitted intentionally injuring Alf-Inge Haaland.

The former Norwich City hitman signed a three-year deal at the Priestfield Stadium as a player/coach after rejecting an offer from Colchester United, although he was very impressed with U's boss Phil Parkinson's plans.

n SKY TV have chosen their opening five live games of the Championship coverage and Ipswich are not included.

Relegated Leeds United kick the televised season off with their home game against Derby County being shown at 12.15pm on Saturday, August 7.

Coventry and Sunderland are on in the evening while Sunday should be Stoke City entertaining Wolves, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Watford, who hope to buy their Vicarage Road Ground from the proceeds of an Elton John concert, take on newly-promoted QPR on Monday, August 8, at 7.45pm. Meanwhile, West Ham, who knocked the Blues out of the play-offs before losing to Crystal Palace, are shown on Tuesday, playing Alan Pardew's former club Reading at 8pm.

The Blues open their Championship campaign at home to Gillingham on August 7, followed by a midweek trip to Nottingham Forest.

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