Royle backs big-spending Hammers

WEST Ham will buy their way to promotion this season - according to Blues boss Joe Royle.While Ipswich Town are struggling to attract loan players and have not signed anyone since the summer when former Hammer Kevin Horlock and Jason De Vos joined from Wigan, Alan Pardew has been able to make wholesale changes.

By Derek Davis

WEST Ham will buy their way to promotion this season - according to Blues boss Joe Royle.

While Ipswich Town are struggling to attract loan players and have not signed anyone since the summer when former Hammer Kevin Horlock and Jason De Vos joined from Wigan, Alan Pardew has been able to make wholesale changes.

He has brought in Malky Mackay from Norwich City, Carl Fletcher from Bournemouth, Chris Powell and Calum Davenport, on loan from Charlton and Spurs respectively, while also securing Teddy Sheringham and Sergei Rebrov for nothing.


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Royle said: “West Ham took in four players last week and they still have the spending power to bring in more. I expected them and Wigan to be up there at the end of the season, primarily because of their financial clout, not that their best XI is better than ours but, as the season goes on, their ability to bring players in will help them.”

Town will be looking for revenge after losing in the play-offs at Upton Park last May and Royle is looking for the players to show strong nerves in front of close on 30,000 Cockneys.

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He said: “We will have to deal with the atmosphere and pick the team accordingly. We will go there to try and win the game, as we always try to do, but our away form is not as impressive as it was last season.

“We are scoring goals away from home, we just have to defend better. Overall, we have been defending better so I'm hoping what happened at Stoke was just a one-off.”

The Blues have an unchanged squad from the loss at Stoke City on Tuesday, although Royle may tinker slightly with the side. With Matt Richards fit, he has the option of switching Fabian Wilnis back to the right and bringing in the youngster at left-back.

He may also look at giving Dean Bowditch another start, although Shefki Kuqi and Pablo Counago will be looking to be involved.

Royle will take charge of his 100th Town game today at Upton Park and will then be three short of a career tally of 1,000 matches as a manager with Oldham, Everton, Manchester City and Ipswich.

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