Town eyeing second spot

NOW that Ipswich are in the top half of the table they are eyeing second spot, writes Derek Davis.Blues boss Joe Royle has pointed out to the players that victory tonight over Burnley, and another win at home to Stoke City on Saturday, could take Town to second place, providing other results go their way.

NOW that Ipswich are in the top half of the table they are eyeing second spot, writes Derek Davis.

Blues boss Joe Royle has pointed out to the players that victory tonight over Burnley, and another win at home to Stoke City on Saturday, could take Town to second place, providing other results go their way.

With the problems the Clarets have and with five wins out of six for Town, the home side should dispose of Burnley, even though they are one place ahead of Town on goals scored.

Burnley boss Stan Ternent was at Bradford to see Town win 1-0 but may not have learnt anything he did not already know.


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Royle said: “Stan knows all about us. He will have seen we can play. Maybe, not enough long balls but we do try and pass it.

“We have a chance of going up one place. The target is to carry on making progress and while I'm happy with what has gone on the past month, it is relentless and we never stop trying to get better.

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“My target to the players now is that we are six points off second place.

“We have just got to concentrate on Burnley. We have tripped ourselves up once or twice when we set our selves up for big games.

“What we have done is beaten the sides around us and below us and long may that continue.”

That winner came from Alan Mahon who told the EADT he wants to stay at Portman Road after his three-month loan spell but Royle appears more taken with Charlton midfielder Chris Bart-Williams.

Royle said: “I thought Alan was our least impressive midfield player but I was grateful he scored the goal. For me Chris Bart-Williams and Jermaine Wright were well ahead for the man of the match award.

“I would love to sign all three but we can't even look at the possibility at the moment. We have got them for three months and make the best of them as if they are not going to be here longer than that then hope we can do something nearer the time.”

Bart-Williams has another month before he is assessed by Alan Curbishley and has not spoken of a desire to stay unlike Mahon and Shefki Kuqi who have made it clear where they want to be come January.

Royle is sweating on the fitness of giant defender Georges Santos who played well with a groin strain at Bradford but may have aggravated the injury in the process.

He said: “We are going to give Georges every moment we can. We were going to test him in the morning but we will leave it as late as we can but he has to be rated as doubtful.”

If Santos fails to make it, Gerard Nash is ready to make his debut, although Royle is also considering moving Bart-Williams into the back four or even shuffling Fabian Wilnis across.

Royle admitted: “I have a number of options and would not like to commit myself.

“If Nash is called upon he would not let us down.”

Scott Mitchell is the 17th member of the squad and will be on the bench if Santos doesn't make it.

Darren Bent returned from England Under-21 duty and still has a sore knee so will not be included.

Tommy Miller has returned to full training and Chris Makin is close to rejoining, while John McGreal continues to make progress.

Martijn Reuser is facing a make or break decision on whether to have a hernia operation.

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