Royle: This could be turning point

DEFIANT Joe Royle was last night putting a brave face on Ipswich Town's worst position in five decades and insists victory against fellow strugglers Walsall tonight could turn the season.

DEFIANT Joe Royle was last night putting a brave face on Ipswich Town's worst position in five decades and insists victory against fellow strugglers Walsall tonight could turn the season, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues boss will probably make just one change to the side which lost 4-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday with Darren Bent replacing out-of-sorts Pablo Counago as the starting striker alongside Alun Armstrong.

But with the Blues needing goals, Town may be tempted to switch from a 4-4-2, which has lacked any cutting edge, and go three up front with Dean Bowditch making his long-awaited start.

The other option is to tighten up at the back by going to a 5-3-2 which the Baggies deployed so successfully on Saturday. That may give Matt Richards a bit more support defensively and allow him to get forward with Alan Mahon to get crosses in but the downside would be the extra running for Fabian Wilnis who is struggling with two tight hamstrings, a sore groin and a painful knee.


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Chris Makin and Tommy Miller are still out injured and although Martijn Reuser and John McGreal are making progress, they are not in the reckoning just yet.

Royle is looking to the hitmen to start hitting goals.

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He said: “We have three strikers who have a history of scoring goals, what we need now is one, or preferably two of them to start scoring. That has been our problem, our last two goals have come from midfield and a defender.”

With 40 games to go Royle insists it is too early to start getting concerned.

He said: “We need everyone to pull together. We have had a bad start and nothing more. There are 120 points to play for and I can't believe some of the panic that has been created around us.”

Roye shrugged off the fact that Town are in their worst position in nearly 50 years by saying: “I would not know, I have only been here 10 months.”

And his answer to improving on Town's shocking start, the worst since the 1969-1970 season was simply: “Win a game.”

Town should record their first league win of the season over a side which has gone five games without a win following their opening day victory over West Brom.

Royle believes three points will end the nightmare and Town are good enough to soon be back challenging at the top.

He added: “It will be like a release valve for everyone. In the last two games we have not played terribly badly in terms of playing but what we have not done is put the ball in the back of the net at vital times. It would be nice to go in front.”

Royle preferred not to dwell on the Saddlers' strengths and weaknesses but instead is looking at his own players to find a winning formula. He said: “Walsall beat West Brom first game and have not won since but it is down to us, it is always down to us.”

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