Royle urges focus on Brighton game
JOE Royle will tell his players to focus on just one thing on Sunday – beating Brighton, writes Derek Davis.The Blues boss is worried that Wigan's game against Reading will distract his side as he feels it has supporters in the build-up to the weekend.
JOE Royle will tell his players to focus on just one thing on Sunday – beating Brighton, writes Derek Davis.
The Blues boss is worried that Wigan's game against Reading will distract his side as he feels it has supporters in the build-up to the weekend.
Town need to beat Albion and for the Royals to get at least a draw at the JJB Stadium to go up automatically and avoid the lottery that is the play-offs.
So Royle is sharpening the minds to concentrate on shooting down the Seagulls, who need at least a point to ensure avoiding relegation.
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He said: "I have told the players to forget all that is going on around you. So many people are asking me how I feel Wigan will do that they are missing the point that if we don't win, it won't matter.
"It won't be an easy game. We are playing a desperate team who need the points, so I don't expect the walkover people are talking about. It is a hard game."
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Town may have to go into the crucial game without central defender Jason De Vos, who has been bed-ridden all week with a virus.
The whole squad will enjoy a rest day today and train again tomorrow, and Royle will give the Canadian international until Sunday morning before making a decision on whether to play him – but it was looking extremely doubtful last night that he would be fit.
There was better news for Richard Naylor, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury, but trained yesterday and will do so again tomorrow.
Dean McDonald has kept his place in the 17-man squad but that may change with Matt Richards being recalled as defensive cover with FA Youth Cup winning centre-backs Aidan Collins or Chris Casement other options at centre-back.
For three months Town held pole position and didn't need to rely on what other teams did. Even as recently as last month the Blues held their destiny in their own hands.
Royle is philosophical about how things have changed but is no less excited about what is yet to unfold.
He said: "It was in our own hands for a while, but it slipped through, so it is what it is now.
"I look forward to every game, the day I stop looking forward to a football match is the day I disappear. I will be no more or less stressed or concerned about it than any other game. Some managers are overtly excited. I will try and stay calm.
"Dramas are always in hindsight. I have been in this position many times. It would be nice for it to be plain sailing and we do what we have to do and the other result goes the way we want it to but somehow I doubt it will be that simple."
After taking their best player off Albion when he signed Darren Currie for £250,000, while Danny Cullip went to Sheffield United for the same price, Royle is full of admiration for Brighton boss Mark McGhee.
He said: "I have a lot of time for what Mark McGhee has done there on a nil budget. He lost his two top players in Darren Currie and Danny Cullip and if they stay up, which I think they will do regardless of what we do there, then they will have had a fantastic season."