Royle doesn't gloss over frailties

WHILE Joe Royle was fuming at the poor officiating – which arguably allowed Michael Doyle to be on the pitch to score Coventry's equaliser – the Town manager refused to gloss over his own side's frailties.

WHILE Joe Royle was fuming at the poor officiating – which arguably allowed Michael Doyle to be on the pitch to score Coventry's equaliser – the Town manager refused to gloss over his own side's frailties.

With just two points from three league games the Blues boss knows a lot of tweaking is still to be done but is confident things can be put right.

He said: "We are still struggling for a rhythm and for a balance that suits us and I'm glad we are getting a point when we are not at our best because I know we can be an awful lot better and we will be better."

While goals have been fairly scarce Royle is not happy with the defensive work being done by Pablo Counago, Marcus Bent and Darren Bent, which is necessary to ensure his 4-3-3 system works. Royle said: "We played with three front players who are all instinctive but unfortunately none of those instincts are defensive. The three of them didn't think it was in their contract to even stop a full back running."


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Ian Westlake was introduced at half-time in place of Pablo Counago but Town could not find the winner.

Royle said: "It worked. We had a better shape and Westy gave us running power and we had the better of the second half without looking overly dangerous. But that is to come, we have players with a record for goals and that will come."

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The Blues boss admitted he had strongly considered starting with 17-year-old starlet Dean Bowditch but decided against it.

He said: "I was tempted to start Dean but there are 43 games to go plus cup ties so there is plenty of time and Dean's chance will come."

If he was not happy with his front three, Royle was decidedly furious with some of the referee's decisions, especially when Michael Doyle elbowed Fabian Wilnis, then appeared to slap him on the back of the head. And when the Dutchman was later fouled again, it was Wilnis who was booked. Royle fumed: "I would not dispute that Coventry deserved a point but the lad who scored should not have been on the pitch. It was the most blatant elbow that people in the crowd had ever seen yet two officials standing within 10 metres of it say they did not see it.

"To make it worse the foul has gone the other way and later poor old Fabian ends up getting booked.

"It is all a little strange, perhaps it is another new rule I have missed.

"Fabian is an honest payer and doesn't go down and you wonder why players get incensed. The referee may have been obstructed with bodies in the way but the linesman and the fourth official may as well not be there if they are not going to take a stance and say something. Diallo has been also been booked for trying to win the ball. I was determined not to comment but there were some strange things going on out there."

The referee in question, Frazer Stretton of Newark, Nottinghamshire, was roundly booed in the Portman Road car park after the game and was heard to say: "I don't know why they are booing me, Ipswich could not put three passes together."

That was not strictly true. But even if Town were below par it doesn't hide the fact he made a lot of unnecessary errors. The result of the assessors' report should be open to the public and referees ought to be accountable just as players and managers are and appear after the game to explain their decisions.

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