Royle tells Town to do it for families

JOE Royle has urged his side to put the recent uncertainty behind them and win the upcoming mini-league as thanks to their own families, writes Derek Davis.

JOE Royle has urged his side to put the recent uncertainty behind them and win the upcoming mini-league as thanks to their own families, writes Derek Davis.

While the team try to focus on the football, daily speculation on player sales and the spectre of administration has also been a strain on family life.

Royle said: "Sometimes it is easy to forget that the players are people too and all the problems and uncertainty can be worrying for those at home. The families don't know if they are going to be uprooted from their friends or jobs or schools so it can be difficult.

"Hopefully now that uncertainty has ended until the end of the season so we have had a chat and the team will concentrate on winning this mini-season of seven games for their families as much as anyone else."

The seven-game run-in starts with Gillingham away at Priestfield today with Martijn Reuser coming through training yesterday with no big concerns on a sore foot.

Dean Bowditch was omitted from the squad just to give him a rest and Royle will take the basic 16 to Gillingham.

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Jim Magilton will skipper the side in the absence of Matt Holland, who plays for the Republic of Ireland today in Georgia.

Royle said: "Jim has been terrific for us. I have been delighted with him, he has been a major influence. Teams have tried to stop him to stop us but he has come through for us each time."

The 16-man Town squad travelled to their Medway base last night to avoid any delays and to be better prepared.

Although Royle used his credit card to guarantee payment of the hotel bill, which is standard practice, he will not actually pay it. That will be done by the club under its administrators as they have done for recent away trips.

Gills are down to their bare bones too, with only 10 players training on Thursday. Mamady Sidibe is on African Nations duty with Mali while Jason Brown was with the Wales Under-21s last night.

Player/manager Andy Hessenthaler is still struggling with a hamstring problem while Paul Shaw and Tommy Johnson were doubtful but are expected to line up today.

Experienced striker Rod Wallace may return from injury while youngsters Jones Awuah, Danny Spiller and Richard Rose may get starts

Hessenthaler said: "It is a shame we have got to play the game as we have two away on international duty and a few injured but we are ready for it and whatever team goes out there will be up for it. We are looking forward to it as we are playing a very good side.

"The pitch is playing a little better due to the dry weather and that will suit both teams."

Ipswich: Marshall, Gaardsoe, Naylor, Wilnis, Makin, Magilton, Reuser, Miller, Wright, Bent D, Bent M, Counago, Abidallah, Pullen, Westlake and Richards.

Gillingham: Bartram, Edge, Nosworthy, Hope, L Johnson, Smith, Shaw, Osborn, Southhall, T Johnson, Ipoura, Wallace, Rose, Saunders, Spiller, Perpetuini and Awuah.

Referee: David Crick (Surrey).

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