Royle: There'll be no clearout

BLUES boss Joe Royle has moved to allay fears that the Town squad will be broken up this summer.

BLUES boss Joe Royle has moved to allay fears that the Town squad will be broken up this summer, writes Derek Davis.

The financial implications of not reaching the Premiership are well-known and there is concern that Town will need to sell a couple of the big earners. But while Royle accepts sales will be made he insists the nucleus of the team will be kept.

He said: "You are not going to see a summer where the team is totally broken up. That is a promise.

"There is not going to be a wholesale sell out. One or two will have to be sold but it is one or two going rather than us being left with one or two. Even with the three players that were sold, we have carried on. We have maintained a standard of performance and a threat."

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Town were struggling and fourth bottom of Division One when Royle took over last October. Since then Jamie Clapham, Hermann Hreidarsson and Darren Ambrose were sold. He brought in one loanee, Paul Gerrard, who returned to Everton injured, and when the club went into administration his hands were tied in terms of bringing in fresh faces.

Royle said: "It is fair to say it was too much to catch up but we had chances to catch up and missed them. There are things that are needed and due to administration we were not able to deal in the transfer or loan market and that could have made a difference, but when we come out of administration that option will be open to us.

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"There are some quality loan deals to be had. Look at the difference Darren Huckerby made at Forest for example.

"Sam Allardyce has done it brilliantly at Bolton, loaning World Cup stars, German internationals, he has done a fantastic job juggling dust to stay in the Premiership."

With Nottingham Forest and Reading needing just a point each from their final two games, it is unrealistic to think Town will sneak into the play-offs, although Royle has not completely given up hope.

The upbeat boss also believes it is important to reward the fans for their patient and constant support, as highlighted by crowds of more than 29,000 for their past two home games.

He said: "You can never say never, but we appreciate it is going to be very hard. Even if we don't get into the play-offs there are other things we have to do like finishing on a high. It is very important that we finish on a high note for our fans.

"We need to confirm to those supporters that the prospects for next season are very good. We have shown in the past six months that we have made good progress and we don't want the season to end on a damp squib on Saturday.

"The fans have been amazing and if 29,000 people turn up to see a team that is not obviously going up then that is fantastic support. There are a number of Premier League clubs who can't even dream of that. We have a Premiership outfit here, all we need to do now, is get a Premiership team together."

While deeply disappointed with events at Rotherham, Royle has seen a lot of plus points in the past six months and is already planning for and relishing next season's challenge.

He said: "We have improved and I feel we are really going paces and I hope the supporters have enjoyed the sort of performances we had against Sheffield United and Coventry when we came back, and the way we played against Portsmouth.

"There have been many green shoots of recovery. While the club has gone through a traumatic time, relegation, administration in one season is a bitter and difficult pill for fans to swallow but please, look at those shoots of recovery.

"Look at the young lads coming through, unfortunately it was necessary for Darren Ambrose to go but we have Dean Bowditch to look forward to. Matt Richards and Darren Bent have come in, Ian Westlake is coming on and there are other good young players here. We have not seen the best of Matt Bloomfield yet but the promise is there."

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