Royle: We need to bounce back
POINTS and performance are the prerequisites for Joe Royle when Ipswich aim to bounce back with a win over basement battlers Bradford City.
POINTS and performance are the prerequisites for Joe Royle when Ipswich aim to bounce back with a win over basement battlers Bradford City, writes Derek Davis.
The woeful Wigan defeat still rankles with the Blues boss and he has made it clear any sort of repeat will not be tolerated.
But he also warned that Bryan Robson's Bantams will be no soft touch, even though they have won just one of their past 12 away games, with Alun Armstrong getting the winner at Carrow Road.
Royle said: “Norwich might have thought that a few weeks ago and look what happened to them.
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“Anyone can beat anyone in this division, and so you can never tell.”
Realistically though Ipswich know anything less than a victory will not be acceptable, followed by a winnable game at Burnley next week.
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Those six points would put Town right in the thick of things again and while there has been much pessimism of late, Royle will point to the run that has seen Town go from rock bottom to genuine promotion challengers.
He said: “Despite have the worst start in the club's history we are still just three points away from third place.
“We have had a lot of criticism after last week, and I was not happy with our performance against Wigan, but we are still up there and in with a good chance.”
The Town team will also be aware that they owe the supporters, and their manager, a decent display and record their first double of the season following the single-goal victory at Valley Parade in October.
Royle said: “We are looking for a result and a good performance after last week when we got neither. We let ourselves down last week and while Wigan played well on the day, and have probably not played better this season, which doesn't help us as we don't like losing.
“We are looking for a double and more importantly a home win and a good performance.”
With John McGreal fit and Chris Bart-Williams, Pablo Counago and Tommy Miller getting over minor knocks this week, Royle has a strong squad with the exception of the right-back position.
Jermaine Wright is expected to stay there, although the emergence of Scott Mitchell gives Royle options.
He said: “It is the healthiest we have been for quite a while. Only a couple of weeks ago we were looking at having a bench full of Academy players.”
“With Fabian (Wilnis) and Chris (Makin) out we have not had a right-back on the books but apart from that we have cover.
“I have not decided about the team as yet but Scott is very much in mind.”
The EADT revealed yesterday how Mitchell and Scott Barron were to be rewarded with professional contracts within the next month.
Unfortunately Town's main two injury worries are to full-backs, Fabian Wilnis, who suffered a shoulder injury at Coventry, and Chris Makin, who has failed to recover after surgery to rectify a nerve problem in the hip area.
Wilnis is helpful of being available for the home game against Preston next week.
The Dutchman said: “Things are coming along well, I'm swimming and the shoulder feels strong so I hope to be back fairly soon.”
Makin will see how the injection he was given on Wednesday for a hip problem works over the next few days and attempt to rejoin training next week.
If unsuccessful, the former Sunderland defender will require an operation, which would then rule him out for the remainder of the season.
Another worry is at left-back where Matt Richards has done a fine job overall but is beginning to feel the effects of not having a full pre-season due to injury.
Royle admitted: “If circumstances had been different I might have given Matt a rest but we have been waiting for some time for Chris Makin to be fit. Matt has stuck at it and while he has not been in vintage form he may be a little tired at the moment. But he is still going to go on and be a very good player.”
One player who won't be playing, either for Ipswich or Bradford, is Alun Armstrong, who limped out of training with an injury yesterday.
The Blues striker has been on loan at Bradford, and returns there again next week, but Royle will not play him, or even ask him to spill the beans on his new team-mates.
Royle said: “I wouldn't embarrass him by asking, he has to go back there next week. We know enough about Bradford as it is.”