Royle - we can't lose at home again

BLUES boss Joe Royle is worried that another home league defeat will undo all the good work over the past four months, writes Derek Davis.Town lost to Norwich City and Crystal Palace last month in the league before another win over Derby County in the FA Cup.

BLUES boss Joe Royle is worried that another home league defeat will undo all the good work over the past four months, writes Derek Davis.

Town lost to Norwich City and Crystal Palace last month in the league before another win over Derby County in the FA Cup.

Even though they won at West Ham and drew at Reading in between, Town have slipped down from fourth top to cling on to a play- off place on goal difference.

Royle said: "This is a massive game for us. If we were to lose this game we could slip out of the top six and after working so hard to get there we don't want to do that.


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"I still have eyes for the top two, never mind the top six."

Royle pointed to away teams' counter-attacking style as being the difference between home and away form.

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He said: "We hit sides a little on the break away from home. But when we have come across sides that string nine or 10 behind the ball we have not dealt with it particularly well.

"We need a little more guile or ingenuity to open teams up and score.

"We need another run. We have been a bit stagnant of late and need to kick-start again. This is a game we need to win after losing our last two home games."

It was just five months ago that Ipswich Town's early season optimism was blown apart at Crewe Alexandra.

Although things got worse before they got better and the Blues have now risen to sixth place, losing at Gresty Road hurt Joe Royle's promotion-hunting side.

The squad was made to watch the video on Thursday before training but instead of cringing at the 1-0 defeat they took a lot of positives from the game they really should have, and could have, won.

Royle said: "I felt we were unfortunate to lose there while others thought differently at the time. We watched the tape and with the amount of chances we had I can't honestly see how we lost.

"But we were in that run at the beginning of the season when we could not score but I know we will make chances against them again because that is what we do."

While Town are in sixth, Crewe are just three places behind and Royle dismisses any notion they are unfashionable or an easy touch.

He said: "Crewe have done tremendously well. There are not many household names in the Crewe side but they keep coming up with good players. The front two are dangerous, Steve Jones has been a regular scorer with 14 goals and Dean Ashton has improved again after standing still a bit last season."

With so many central defenders available, Town could go to three at the back today using Matt Richards and Jermaine Wright as wing-backs.

Darren Bent is out with an ankle injury. Martijn Reuser was hit by a stomach bug during the week, while Richards has recovered from a tight hamstring.

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