Royle stops talking

BLUES boss Joe Royle is so focused on getting Ipswich Town into the Premiership that he has stopped talking to his managerial mates.All casual chats to the likes of Mick McCarthy and Paul Jewell have ceased and will not resume until mid-May.

BLUES boss Joe Royle is so focused on getting Ipswich Town into the Premiership that he has stopped talking to his managerial mates.

All casual chats to the likes of Mick McCarthy and Paul Jewell have ceased and will not resume until mid-May.

Royle last night confirmed: "We don't speak unless we have too. I get on well with all of them but there is no reason to call each other at this stage of the season."

While Royle appreciates that some of his old pals can help him out with results against Wigan and Sunderland, that assistance would be useless unless Town play their own part.


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He said: "I don't look at what others are up to, as it is about what we do that matters.

"We have seven games to go and we are totally focused on ourselves and what we have to do."

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Town have adopted something of a siege mentality, after giving up a six-point lead at the top to go into the final 10 games in third place.

They have won two and drawn one of their last three games to put pressure on the top two and automatic promotion remains the target.

Royle said: "I appreciate some supporters are talking play-offs but we are not giving a thought to them, we are staying positive and we are blocking out all negative thoughts."

While many have been enjoying an Easter break, it has been business as usual for the Town squad.

They trained as normal on Monday and will use tomorrow as a rest day to leave them more refreshed for Saturday's titanic tussle with Derby County.

Royle is relishing the return to action and said: "Derby have had a great run of results away from home recently and it will be double-edged for them, with George Burley coming back.

"It will not be an easy game by any means but they will at least try and beat us.

"Like many teams that come here, they will play five across the midfield but it will be an attacking formation rather than the likes of Watford and QPR, who looked to snatch something on the break and succeeded."

The Rams will include defender Chris Makin, who is on loan at Pride Park from Leicester City, but are likely to be without the injured Marco Reich and Mo Konjic, while skipper Ian Taylor is expected to be back after a seven-week lay-off through suspension and injury.

For the Blues, Jason De Vos, Ian Westlake and Richard Naylor have all trained after suffering from a virus and Royle is confident of having a full squad to choose from.

That may mean disappointment for the likes of Jimmy Juan, Dean McDonald and Pablo Counago, who play in the reserves' clash against Spurs tonight.

Owen Garvan and Billy Clarke are also pushing hard for a first-team spot but the FA Youth Cup is their priority for the moment.

Talk of a glimpse of trialists Daryl Murphy, who is over for a second time from Waterford, and Racing Club's Junior is wide of the mark, with both ineligible to play.

The young Blues' side, which will be confirmed later today, is likely to be virtually the same as the one that beat Derby 4-0 on Saturday, with Counago added.

Defeat for keeper Price – Page 41

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