Town boosted by half-time pep talk

THE power of positive thinking pushed Ipswich Town into yet another Championship comeback.Blues defender Fabian Wilnis admits he was expecting the team to get a severe ear-bashing from boss Joe Royle after going in at half-time two down at Crewe.

By Derek Davis

THE power of positive thinking pushed Ipswich Town into yet another Championship comeback.

Blues defender Fabian Wilnis admits he was expecting the team to get a severe ear-bashing from boss Joe Royle after going in at half-time two down at Crewe.

Instead, November's manager of the month reminded his players how good they were and if they had belief they could return 45 minutes later as winners.


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It almost worked, with Richard Naylor and Darren Bent netting within five minutes of each other to cancel out Dean Ashton's first-half double, and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Unfortunately, Wigan also found their shooting boots and thrashed Preston 5-0 to topple Town from the top and return to the summit themselves.

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Dutchman Wilnis, who will today have an x-ray on a suspected broken finger, revealed how Royle's half-time team talk inspired Town's fightback.

He said: “I was really surprised by the gaffer's reaction at half-time. He was really positive and he told us that if we believed in ourselves we could win the game.

“It may seem a strange thing to say when we are two down, but we really believed we could still win.

“He believed in us, he didn't give us the rollicking which I expected and instead he told us to get the ball in the box, be positive and deal with the second ball when it falls for you.”

Man of the match Wilnis provided some of the few bright spots in the first half for Town and then excelled when switched to right-back after the interval.

He said: “It has been a while since I played there but I enjoyed it.

“When I'm at left back I can work on my left foot and when I'm on the right that is my usual position.

“It was disappointing the way we conceded the goals, it was uncharacteristic and came from nothing really.

“In the second half we showed our true character and we showed how good we can play.

“Even towards the end we went looking for the third goal and really I'm disappointed that we just got a draw.”

Former Town loan star Alan Mahon was on the mark again for Wigan, who went back to the top, but Town stay ahead of the chasing play-off pack.

Wilnis said: “I'm really down about not winning because the way other results went with Sunderland and Reading losing it would have been a great chance to pull away at the top.”

The Dutch defender will be among a number of Blues relishing the return of Bolton to Portman Road in January after drawing Sam Allardyce's side in the third round of the FA Cup.

Wilnis was part of the Ipswich side that beat Bolton to reach the play-off final at Wembley in 2000.

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