Royle - we'll go for goals again
BLUES boss Joe Royle last night vowed Ipswich Town will be looking to do what they do best at West Ham tonight - scoring goals, writes Derek Davis.Although Town take a one-goal lead to Upton Park they have no intention of sitting tight and are looking to make sure they control their future.
BLUES boss Joe Royle last night vowed Ipswich Town will be looking to do what they do best at West Ham tonight - scoring goals, writes Derek Davis.
Although Town take a one-goal lead to Upton Park they have no intention of sitting tight and are looking to make sure they control their future.
Royle said: “It is only recently that we have started going into games knowing our destiny is in our own hands.
“We know that if we win or draw this game then we will be in the final.”
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The Blues have not kept two successive clean sheets all season while they have been far more successful in attack. They have failed to score on the road just four times - at Wigan, Crew, Stoke and Millwall.
Royle added: “It would be nice to do that as that would see us through as any draw or win would.
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“The other thing is we don't often draw a blank away so we will be going for goals as usual.”
A repeat of Saturday's performance in the win over the Hammers would do the job, especially as 30,000 rabid Cockneys would soon start hammering their own players.
Royle said: “I was pleased with the way we played with the mix of free-flowing when we had the ball and being defensively-minded when we didn't have the ball.
“It won't be easy as West Ham have players everyone in this league would covet and on their home ground they will be up for it.
“Alan Pardew was making noises about how we would handle their crowd but that works two ways. They have to handle their own crowd, particularly a West Ham crowd with their expectations.”
Royle also welcomed the appointment of Premiership official Neale Barry for tonight's game.
He said: “Referees have to be strong in the face of these sort of home crowds. I have noticed this season when we have had difficult games with inexperienced referees but we can't have that complaint with Mr Barry being given the match.”
Alun Armstrong has been added to tonight's squad as cover for John McGreal, who continues to struggle with a slight calf strain.
If the defender doesn't make it then Richard Naylor will drop back into his defensive duties, while Shefki Kuqi will start up front with Armstrong covering on the bench along with the nippy Dean Bowditch.
Darren Bent is expected to keep his place up front as Town look to push West Ham on to the back foot from the off.
Royle said: “We will give John every chance and see how he is at the hotel.
“I would love him to play and hope he can come through. If it was the weekend I'm sure he would be fine but at this stage he is a doubt.
“John has been very important to us and his partnership with Matt Elliott has been key to our improved defensive performances, as we saw against Sunderland and now West Ham.
“Alun's quality is undoubted and I would have no qualms about bringing him on.”
Georges Santos and Drissa Diallo are also added to the squad.
n AWAY goals do not count in the play-offs and there is no Golden or Silver goal. If the aggregate scores are level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If the aggregate scores remain level, there will be a penalty shoot out.