Royle in striker hunt

BLUES boss Joe Royle will today be looking to bring in a new striker after losing Sam Parkin to a long-term injury and seeing his side comprehensively beaten at home by a rampant Reading.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle will today be looking to bring in a new striker after losing Sam Parkin to a long-term injury and seeing his side comprehensively beaten at home by a rampant Reading.

Royle has been considering making a move for a new forward to start bringing in goals with Nicky Forster and Parkin failing to impress of late and now an injury to Parkin has heightened his desire.

The Blues were blown away by the new league leaders Reading, who out-thought, outfought and outclassed an insipid Ipswich.


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Royle said: “Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you have been beaten by a better team and that was the case.

“They were outstanding and we were very poor.”

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Steven Sidwell, Leroy Lita and Kevin Doyle, all scored as Reading romped to victory to equal their record of 18 games on the bounce without defeat in the league.

Ipswich dropped former Royal Forster and tried to play with Parkin on his own up front and Darren Currie just behind him but an injury to the £550,000 buy from Swindon forced Royle to change things with Forster going on.

Royle explained why he chose to go with a 4-4-1-1 formation and said: “Our forwards have not been playing particularly well and I felt we could not carry two out-of-form strikers against a side that is so good and I would try and stiffen our midfield.

“But we never got a foothold in the game. Richard Naylor going up front meant we won one or two headers and it galvanised the crowd for 10 seconds. The rest of the time it was listening for the pin to drop.”

It was a grim night for Ipswich and keeper Lewis Price, who signed a new contract extension just hours earlier, which will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2008.

The Wales No. 1 could not be blamed for any of the goals and without him it could have been worse.

Reading boss Steve Coppell played down the win but admitted he was pleased with the performance.

He said: “We created well and played really well. The surface suited us as it was slick and that helped our passing play when we wanted to get forward.”

Coppell diplomatically avoided saying if Town's tactics had also helped them and said: “In a way it was a compliment to us that they were trying a different shape to play against us - perhaps he had to with the players he has.

“I don't want to make too much of it. I know by speaking with Joe that the players he lost in the summer has ripped the guts out of his squad and it is going to take time for the youngsters coming in.”

The win took Reading top of the Championship after Sheffield United could only draw at Wolves, but Coppell was not getting carried away.

He said: “It means nothing to me at this stage of the season. I don't want the highlight of the season to be that we were top in November.”

Parkin left the ground on crutches with a damaged ankle and could be out for up to six weeks.

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