Town to attack at Wigan

THE natural attacking style that the Blues possess will be allowed to flourish at Wigan tomorrow.At least that is the belief of Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle and his troops as they look to return to the Championship summit.

THE natural attacking style that the Blues possess will be allowed to flourish at Wigan tomorrow.

At least that is the belief of Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle and his troops as they look to return to the Championship summit.

Arguably Town's last really good display was against the Latics last December, when the Blues triumphed and went top of the table, and stayed there for three months.

Royle is relishing the possibility of the same sort of performance, a similar result and the same outcome, unless Sunderland get there before them by beating Burnley at Turf Moor tonight.


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“It will be a tough game for both sides. We had a terrific game here against them when we came out on top in what was probably our best performance of the season, bearing in mind the opposition,” he said.

“We need to get back on track after slipping down the table so rapidly to joint top third.”

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Royle stayed in the north-west after Town's 1-1 draw with Preston to watch Wigan thrash Leeds 5-1 the next day and is well aware of the threat they pose at the JJB Stadium.

He said: “I saw them against Leeds and they were very impressive. Their pitch is not the best but you would not know it by the way they played on it, they were terrific.

“Wigan have the leading scorer in Nathan Ellington and top strike duo along with Jason Roberts and we have to deal with that.

“We have to match them strength for strength and pace with pace.”

Wigan's style will at last allow Ipswich to benefit from the creativity they have and their ability to score goals.

Both clubs have netted and the Blues could frolic in the freedom that being on the road gives them, especially against a team that will not string five payers across midfield as so many teams have done at Portman Road.

Royle said: “Wigan will try and beat us. They don't change, they will play their 4-4-2.

“Our away record has been excellent. We won at Sheffield United and we were within 30 seconds of winning at Reading and they were two very tough games.”

A hard core travelling contingent will be backing the Blues and they go with a reputation for being among the more positive and passionate of Town supporters.

Royle insisted that things are not as grim as some fans would have it.

He said: “If you actually analyse what has happened to us it is not so bad. We have lost to Watford when we should have won by seven. And against QPR it was a poor performance when we didn't deserve to win but we didn't deserve to lose.

“There is no middle ground. You are either top and flying or on a big slide as we are supposed to be at the moment.”

It is looking increasingly likely that Shefki Kuqi will play after training with the first-team squad yesterday.

He is expected to fly up with the team today and a final decision will be made tomorrow.

Royle said: “Shefki has done incredibly well to come as far as he has. He trained but looked rusty so we will assess the situation again.”

If Kuqi fails this morning's test Royle will add either Scott Mitchell or Aidan Collins to the squad.

With James Scowcroft and Jason De Vos suspended Matt Richards will be added to the squad and could fill the left-back role, although Danny Karbassiyoon is favourite to get the Royle nod, while David Unsworth partners Richard Naylor in central defence.

Gerard Nash, Drissa Diallo and Jimmy Juan have also made excellent progress and will use the reserve game at Southampton on Wednesday as a springboard to push into the first-team squad.

Ipswich Town squad: Davis, Price, Wilnis, Karbassiyoon, Richards, Unsworth, Naylor, Horlock, Magilton, Westlake, Currie, Miller, Bowditch, Bent, Counago and Kuqi.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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