Royle backs De Vos to be a big hit

JASON De Vos makes his home debut for Ipswich Town on Saturday and manager Joe Royle is convinced he will be an instant hit with Blues fans, writes Derek Davis.

JASON De Vos makes his home debut for Ipswich Town on Saturday and manager Joe Royle is convinced he will be an instant hit with Blues fans, writes Derek Davis.

The towering central defender will be looking for his first clean sheet at Portman Road as Ipswich continue their pre-season campaign against newly-promoted Premiership side Crystal Palace.

Royle is also hoping his other summer signing Kevin Horlock will recover sufficiently from bruised ribs to be able to make an appearance.

Canadian captain De Vos has impressed at the back during his run of pre-season games, although he was partially at fault for Oxford United's opener on Tuesday.


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De Vos was signed as a free agent after turning down a contract at Wigan. He also rejected the chance to move to either Stoke City or Cardiff City so he could play at Portman Road, as he had been so impressed with the supporters and facilities when he visited with the Latics.

Royle said: “Jason has done very well and I'm sure he will prove popular with the supporters.

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“He and Richard Naylor looked good together at Oxford, although they were a bit slow for the goal, and Jason has fitted in very well.”

Roye is keen to match his side against Palace, who won promotion via the play-offs after a late charge into the top six.

They only reached the post-season knock-out stage when West Ham scored a late equaliser at Wigan to end the Latics' hopes.

Palace then beat the Hammers in the final and Royle was not the least bit surprised at their success.

The Blues boss tipped them for the play-offs after seeing the then recently-appointed Iain Dowie's side rip Town apart in December.

He said: “They were fourth bottom at the time and they took us apart down here. Their players were far better than their position suggested then and I was not surprised that they came on strong.

“Sometimes the force is with you and it was with them. They had the momentum going and after West Ham got them into the play-offs with that draw at Wigan they went after a controversial lastminute goal at Sunderland.

“Iain Dowie came in and his new broom did more than just sweep clean.

“They are a very fit, fast, team and will be a very good test for us. But that is what I have wanted, harder pre-season matches.”

Horlock will receive further treatment today and if fit will train tomorrow and could play some part Saturday.

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