Royle targeting home improvement

IF Joe Royle could be granted three wishes for the start of the season they would be a better home form, an improved start and to concede far less goals, writes Derek Davis.

IF Joe Royle could be granted three wishes for the start of the season they would be a better home form, an improved start and to concede far less goals, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues start the new season with fresh hope tomorrow as relegation-favourites Gillingham come to Town, although they arrive looking for a hat-trick of Portman Road victories.

The Gills were one of 10 teams to take points off Ipswich at Portman Road last season, and the only two home draws came in the first month.

The Blues boss said: “Gillingham have done well here, while we have won at their place. I have made the players aware that out home form is vital to us.


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“Last season even just the lack of draws probably stopped us finishing higher in the division and while we won lots of games we lost too many, so this year we have to make it Fortress Portman Road.

“Too many sides have come here and won too easily.”

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The main reason for the failures was the inability to stop gifting goals, something that still doesn't look to be fully addressed after keeping just one clean sheet in seven pre-season friendlies.

Royle conceded: “We have been tighter at the back, the two new additions have made a big difference to us and we have won the last three games 2-1. While the ones were disappointing it is nice to say we are down to one. We were not going from 4-3s to 1-0s in one step.”

The other thing that needs to improve is the start after Ipswich registered just two points from six games last season and had to come from bottom of the table to eventually make the play-offs.

Royle said: “It is not very nice when you are written off, it is not good for confidence. It would be nice to start well and be looking down the division after six games and say this is where we are going to stay.”

Jason De Vos will skipper the side if he recovers from a sore knee in place of Jim Magilton who won't play. Matt Richards has recovered from a sore foot and will start.

Ipswich Town squad: Davis, Price, Diallo, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Richards, Horlock, Miller, Westlake, Murray, Bowditch, Bent, Kuqi, Counago, Barron and Mitchell.

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