We're not far short - Joe

By Elvin KingIPSWICH Town reach the half-way stage of their Coca-Cola Championship campaign when they entertain Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.And manager Joe Royle last night revealed that the club is only marginally short of where they could rightfully expect to be in the table.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town reach the half-way stage of their Coca-Cola Championship campaign when they entertain Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

And manager Joe Royle last night revealed that the club is only marginally short of where they could rightfully expect to be in the table.

Royle said: “Realistically, a mid-table position at half-way was a fair ask.”


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Royle is convinced that there are better times ahead, and is confident that there will not be a slip down the table into relegation trouble. He cannot bring in any loan signings until next month, and there is a busy holiday period to come.

“I have set no targets, only to gain three points in our next match on Saturday,” added Royle.

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“We have drawn a few too many games and a couple of extra victories would have seen us now on the coat-tails of the play-offs.

“There is reason to suggest that we have turned the corner - and now we must show proof of that. A couple of wins could make all the difference.”

Striker Nicky Forster has shrugged off recent reaction to his September knee operation and will be a key player against a QPR side that won on their last visit to Portman Road and beat Town at Loftus Road in August.

Who plays beside Forster remains to be seen, with Royle yet to finalise his plans.

Richard Naylor could move up from defence now that Fabian Wilnis has served his one-match suspension, while 17-year-old Billy Clarke will also come into consideration.

Dean Bowditch began against Wolves last weekend and will again be in the frame, while Adam Proudlock is another waiting to be pencilled in.

Proudlock missed training yesterday with a recurrence of a knee injury and he was joined on the sidelines by skipper Jim Magilton and midfielder Kevin Horlock.

Magilton is suffering more problems with his arthritic toe but is expected to be fit for Saturday. Horlock, on the other hand, is likely to miss out, with Royle saying: “Kevin wanted to play against Wolves but his knee is sore and it may be best to let him rest so that the injury can settle.”

Good news for Royle was that Owen Garvan and Ian Westlake trained yesterday after playing for 45 minutes in Monday's reserve victory over Norwich City, when the Canaries included a number of non-contract players.

Town striker Sam Parkin has seen a specialist after having screws put into his broken ankle a fortnight ago.

The 24-year-old, who is expected to be out of action for at least three months, said: “The ankle is healing well and things are progressing.

“There are no problems with the way the operation went. I have had a new plaster cast fitted around the ankle and that will stay on for two weeks.

“After that, it will be the 'big boot', which keeps the ankle stabilised but will allow me to get around more.

“I should be able to put weight down on the foot before Christmas and begin my rehabilitation from there.”

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

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