Royle relishing TV date

BLUES boss Joe Royle is looking forward to showing off his new team to the nation when Sky Sports show Town's home game against Stoke City on Saturday evening, writes Derek Davis.

BLUES boss Joe Royle is looking forward to showing off his new team to the nation when Sky Sports show Town's home game against Stoke City on Saturday evening, writes Derek Davis.

Although Drissa Diallo is unlikely to be fit, and there is a question mark over Georges Santos, who has a groin problem, almost half the side expected to play the Potters in the 5.35pm kick-off will be different to the last time they featured in a live game.

Kelvin Davis, Alan Mahon, Shekfi Kuqi and Chris Bart-Williams are also new to the squad since last April.

He said: "Being on the telly is a great opportunity to show a wider audience that the patient is getting better.


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"We are getting back to fitness and in our top form we are playing good, winning, football.

"The last time we were on Sky was when we beat Portsmouth, who had just secured promotion, and we played exceptionally well.

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"This will be virtually a new team with five players starting who were not here back then.

"This may be a new team but it will give the punters a chance to see we are still a passing team and trying to get goals.

"Sky will be pleased to see us coming into form and they will see it as a reversal of trends. Stoke were the early pacesetters but that has levelled out now as we were bottom but are now improving."

And after leaping from rock bottom last month to seventh spot today, Royle is relishing the opportunity for Town to strut their stuff.

He said: "When we were at the bottom other managers were telling me they were smiling at our position because they had no doubt that we would not be there for long.

"There was a much bigger panic locally than was necessary, although people will have their opinions.

"But I know elsewhere in the country people didn't expect us to be there for long – there is too much respect for the players."

After going six games without a win and netting just four times, Ipswich have won six from seven, scoring 19 goals in the process

Royle said: "It has been a strange season because we have talked so much about our problems scoring goals yet we find ourselves leading scorers in the division, and I'm not really sure how we have got there.

"We have missed enough chances to have doubled the goals, which augurs well."

Blues are hoping to field the same starting XI for the fourth time in a row but if Santos fails to recover then Gerard Nash will step in after making a fine debut in the 6-1 win over Burnley on Tuesday.

He came on as a substitute to replace the Frenchman in the 76th minute.

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