Royle taking Cup seriously

JOE Royle will make a couple of minor changes to his starting XI today but there will not be any significant upheavals as he still holds the FA Cup in high esteem, writes Derek Davis.

JOE Royle will make a couple of minor changes to his starting XI today but there will not be any significant upheavals as he still holds the FA Cup in high esteem, writes Derek Davis.

He said: "All things being equal I would like to give one or two a start.

"It is an important game and I would love to have a cup run but the league game against Reading next week is still a more important match."

Ian Westlake has failed to recover from the flu and will miss out. His place is likely to be taken by Martijn Reuser.


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John McGreal and Tommy Miller have got over their bouts of flu and even though Jermaine Wright has recovered well from a foot injury he may be another who is rested.

Dean Bowditch could make only his second start of the season although Royle has a full complement of strikers to choose from.

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While Royle tinkers slightly with his side, the fans are not getting too excited over the tie.

Around 15,000 are expected for today's game after disappointing ticket sales following two successive home defeats.

Royle, who was the last English manager to win the FA Cup when he lifted it at Wembley in 1995 with Everton, insists he is taking the competition seriously.

He said: "The FA Cup has not lost any of its appeal for me but I'm being practical.

"If we just had 38 games to play in this division then there would not even be the thought of resting players.

"But we have 46 games and the possibility of play-off games can't be ignored. I saw at Oldham what 68 games will do and players felt they were running through mud.

"If Manchester United and Arsenal make changes when they can, and we can't do the same as we still only have 16 seniors, then we will make one or two changes.

"If we got to Cardiff then we will sell the tickets twice over."

Chris Makin has had the stitches removed following his recent operation and will resume training next week but is still a month away from playing.

Town are looking to arrange a special practice match this week to test the fitness of Drissa Diallo.

The draw for the fourth round of the cup will take place at 1pm on Monday.

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