Decision time for Jim
IPSWICH skipper Jim Magilton will take the weekend to decide on his football future.The 36-year-old midfielder has spoken at length with Town boss Joe Royle - but as yet the one-year contract on offer from the club remains unsigned.
IPSWICH skipper Jim Magilton will take the weekend to decide on his football future.
The 36-year-old midfielder has spoken at length with Town boss Joe Royle - but as yet the one-year contract on offer from the club remains unsigned.
Magilton is at the crossroads of his career and is torn between staying at Portman Road in a playing capacity or accepting an invitation to take his first step towards management elsewhere.
Royle said: “I had a long chat with Jim. It was a good dialogue and I fully appreciate his position.
“At his age he must decide whether his next step is to have one last year as a player or to take up an offer to become player-coach with another club.
“It would be a big decision for any player, but when you are 36 it is that much bigger a decision.”
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Should Magilton decide that his future is elsewhere, Royle accepts it would leave a considerable void in his new-look squad.
The former Northern Ireland international captain has made almost 300 appearances for Town since arriving from Sheffield Wednesday over six years ago.
Royle added: “Jim knows how much I want him to sign on again and give us another year. I have a lot of faith in him as a player.
“He continues to be a big influence for us and finding a replacement would not be easy, although we would have to do it.”
While still hoping that Magilton decides to throw in his lot with Ipswich for another season, Royle has identified two possible contenders from the current staff for the demanding, playmaker-in-chief role.
He said: “Darren Currie came inside and did well for us last season and he could do the job, but I also believe that young Owen Garvan could be up to the task.
“Garvan is one of the young lads we want to push on next season and I have already told him he will be coming on the pre-season tour to Hungary, as well as featuring in some other warm-up games.”
The 17-year-old Dubliner, who lists Manchester United and Ireland skipper Roy Keane as his favourite player, has already gained international honours at various different levels.
While Magilton's future remains unresolved, Royle confirmed that veteran defender Fabian Wilnis and teenage winger Dean McDonald had both signed new one-year deals.
Monaco midfielder Jimmy Juan has also committed to a 12-month loan deal after catching the manager's eye at reserve level during the second half of last term.
Ipswich's trip to Reading in October has been switched to accommodate the Sky Sports cameras. The fixture, originally scheduled for October 15, will now take place on the 16th, with a 1.30pm kick-off. It could also mean a switch for the home game against Coventry, due to be played on Tuesday October 18.