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Royle - make them grizzle

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

NICE guy Joe Royle is looking to leave some old mates 'grizzling' tonight as Ipswich look to leap-frog Wolves into a play-off spot.

Royle has shared a holiday with Paul Ince, signed Denis Irwin for Oldham, Mark Kennedy at Manchester City and is good pals with Wolves boss Dave Jones.

NICE guy Joe Royle is looking to leave some old mates 'grizzling' tonight as Ipswich look to leap-frog Wolves into a play-off spot.

Royle has shared a holiday with Paul Ince, signed Denis Irwin for Oldham, Mark Kennedy at Manchester City and is good pals with Wolves boss Dave Jones.

As much as he likes and admires old mates there will be no room for sentiment at pumped-up Portman Road tonight.

Royle said: "Denis Irwin is the best free signing I ever made, I felt like Dick Turpin when I got him for nothing. He then went on to become the most expensive full-back in the country and as Alan Hansen said probably the best left-back and the best right-back in the past 10 years. A dream professional – when Alex Ferguson says he was his best buy you have to listen.

"Mark Kennedy was a major influence in our promotions with Manchester City and when he plays the Wolves forwards are a lot happier and when he doesn't the Wolves results suffer.

"I shared a holiday with Paul Ince once and I know Dave Jones well from my Everton days and they are good people who I like but I will be happy enough if they are all grizzling at me after the game."

Old Evertonian Jones is under no illusion about Ipswich and feels it is important to get a psychological edge before the return match in a fortnight's time.

He said: "They are still a Premiership team with Premiership players and while it may have taken them that bit longer to adjust to this division than the others that came down, they are fighting and will be wanting the points, just like us.

"We have had a very good start to the year, apart from Brighton which was just one of those things. The whole team didn't perform and it was nice to put that blip behind us and get back to winning ways on Sunday.

"We will be playing Ipswich here at Molineux in just a few weeks and it is important we go down there and show our best so they know what to expect."

The pre-game build-up has been disrupted with well-documented off-field activities but Royle has told his players to concentrate entirely on winning three points and moving into the top six.

Although not a sell-out, a bumper 26,000 plus crowd is anticipated and if the atmosphere gets anywhere near the levels it did against Sheffield United it promises to be an exciting clash between two promotion hopefuls.

Royle said: "It was strange for a day after the announcement but footballers are focused really and for them it is about kicking a ball around. They have to leave the politics to other people. It is not nice what has happened to people connected to the club but the players have to get on with it.

"They did well a couple of weeks ago after so much emotion involving Dale (Roberts) to come through the Sheffield game and this is another they have to get through and I'm sure they will."

Kennedy and George Ndah are struggling with back problems but Royle said: "They will feel on their day that on their day they fear no one in this division, just as we feel."

Hermann Hreidarsson starts a three-match suspension tonight but John McGreal returns after a 10-week lay-off with a knee injury. The extra couple of days' rest between games has allowed Chris Makin to recover from a niggly back problem and with Thomas Gaardsoe included Town have the option of shuffling the back-line and keeping Matt Holland in a three or go four at the back with Makin as left-back and the skipper pushing into midfield.

With Darren Ambrose, Tommy Miller and Jim Magilton in midfield there would be no place for Jermaine Wright against a former club.

Darren Bent is likely to start up front and Marcus Bent may well have done enough in the second half against Sheffield to earn a start, especially as Pablo Counago will take a four-game break starting on Saturday after his second sending off this season.

Ipswich Town: Marshall, Wilnis, Makin, McGreal, Gaardsoe, Miller, Holland, Magilton, M Bent, D Bent, Ambrose, Reuser, Pullen, Counago, Wright and Naylor.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Murray, Irwin, Butler, Lescott, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Cameron, Miller, Ndah, Kennedy, Proudlock, Rae, Clyde, Sturridge, Oakes, Blake and Andrews.

Referee: Steve Bennett (Orpington).


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