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Royle's derby dilemma

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

JOE Royle faces an unenviable goalkeeping dilemma this week.

Does he stick with James Pullen for the derby game with Norwich City on Sunday or recall Andy Marshall to face his old club, complete with partisan supporters?

Pullen had a nightmare 15 minutes in his league debut for Ipswich where he was questioned for one goal and left shame-faced for another.

JOE Royle faces an unenviable goalkeeping dilemma this week, writes Derek Davis.

Does he stick with James Pullen for the derby game with Norwich City on Sunday or recall Andy Marshall to face his old club, complete with partisan supporters?

Pullen had a nightmare 15 minutes in his league debut for Ipswich where he was questioned for one goal and left shame-faced for another.

The Blues boss had decided to take Marshall out of the firing line after the ex Norwich City keeper came under increasing stick from certain sections of the fans following some erratic performances this season.

"James has hardly had a save to make apart from the two goals. He has held his hand up for the second goal and is very embarrassed. But it was not just Saturday that we have let goals in, we have been leaking goals for a while now."

Royle would not be drawn on his preferred choice just yet but with any loan moves ruled out he knows he must choose between the pair.

Marshall is the far more experienced keeper but would face a barrage of abuse at Carrow Road. While Pullen would not get the same level of grief it will be a big test to bounce back in such a high-pressure match.

The Blues boss considered the draw against Grimsby as the worst performance since he took charge last October.

Royle added: "In the end I was pleased with a point, although defeat would have been hard on us.

"As bad as we have played they have had two attempts on goal and in the second half our keeper was a virtual spectator.

"We were not creating, we were not passing well and when we did get a cross in it was from a bad angle. We were very poor, that was probably the poorest 90 minutes since I have been here.

"We had nothing, we couldn't hold the ball up. Our passing was poor from midfield and as for our defending, only Matt Holland is defending properly. We need him in two positions at the moment."

And he had a word of praise for Darren Bent, whose two goals secured a point and took his tally for the season to 15.

Royle said: "The kid is on a hot run and whenever we get the ball to him he looks dangerous.

"They have the worst away defence in the league but their keeper has hardly had a save to make. Richard Naylor has missed a sitter but that apart we were not creating enough. In fact to score two goals from that performance leaves me slightly happy."

Town have allowed two goals past them in each of the past three home games and Royle warned that had to stop.

"We are just haemorrhaging goals and the bottom line is we can't go on leaking the goals we are at the moment. They were two poor goals to give away from our point of view. It needs people to defend properly for the first one and the second, unfortunately, is a dolly which the kid has let in."

Administration means Royle is not able to bring in anyone new in any position but is looking forward to getting Icelander Hermann Hreidarsson back at the end of his four-match ban.

"Hermann will be back in two games which will make us stronger in size, pace and presence, but at the moment we have to play with what we have got.

"John McGreal was not fully fit so we have a few more days to get him right, he is a true defender and need him fit."

Pablo Counago also has another three matches to go before he returns from suspension.


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