Royle - stay calm

STAY calm this week then roar the Blues to victory on Sunday, writes Derek Davis. That's the message from ice-cool Joe Royle as the build-up to one of the most important weeks in the Ipswich Town's history begins.

STAY calm this week then roar the Blues to victory on Sunday, writes Derek Davis.

That's the message from ice-cool Joe Royle as the build-up to one of the most important weeks in the Ipswich Town's history begins. Town need to beat Cardiff City at Portman Road on Sunday to be sure of a play-off place and a chance at joining in the financial jackpot that is the Premiership. A draw may be enough if other results go Town's way but three points against Lennie Lawrence's side in front of what is already almost a sell-out crowd is what is being ordered.

The excitement, and tension, is building as the Blues prepare for the final league game of the season, precariously placed in sixth spot after a dramatic draw against fellow play-off hopefuls Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Friday night.

Although ex-Town star David Johnson kept his promise to the EADT and scored the winner for Forest against Wigan on Saturday, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Reading all won, while Sunderland were held to a draw meaning seven sides are chasing four play-off places.

Royle said last night: "We knew it would go to the wire some time ago and said so. Mind you, if the officials had done their job at Sheffield and we had got the penalty we should have, we would be in the play-offs today. But we are not, so we have to get on with it. It is clear cut, we have to win to be sure."

Royle, along with coach Willie Donachie, has been through many a drama before with Oldham, Everton and Manchester City, so they know how to deal with the pressure and build-up.

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Royle said: "We have done it all before, when we were at Oldham we needed three wins in a week to stay up and we did it.

"The important thing this week for the players is rest and then we will work towards the game in the last couple or three days. What is going on won't affect me or Willie and we won't be nervous.

"The players need the right build-up, and they won't feel nerves from us."

And Royle insists: "The best thing everyone can do is stay calm. The fans have been fantastic and were again at Sheffield. They have been superb lately at home as well and we need them on Sunday to roar us on to victory."

Many of the Town squad have experienced play-off pressure before with coach Tony Mowbray, skipper Jim Magilton, defenders Fabian Wilnis and John McGreal, midfielders Jermaine Wright and Martijn Reuser all involved in the 2000 promotion. And Richard Naylor scored at Wembley in the play-off final.

n Sunday's game will now be shown live on Sky TV. Kick-off remains 1pm.

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