Defeats were the best thing - Jim

JIM Magilton today looked back on the hurt of losing his first three games and said: “It was the best thing that could have happened to me.”It was a tough baptism as Ipswich Town manager for the genial Irishman, but after coming through the next four games unbeaten inside 90 minutes he now sees it as a plus.

By Elvin King

JIM Magilton today looked back on the hurt of losing his first three games and said: “It was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

It was a tough baptism as Ipswich Town manager for the genial Irishman, but after coming through the next four games unbeaten inside 90 minutes he now sees it as a plus.

“I wouldn't like to go through it again,” added Magilton, who has added

fit-again Fabian Wilnis to his squad for tonight's Championship match against Coventry City at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).

“But it made sure that we did not paper over the cracks.

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“It gave us a jolt and I had to re-assess how I spoke to players.

“I quickly learned that I had to be more considerate.

“As a player I knew when I had performed under par. I did not need anybody to tell me.

“It has been a steep learning curve and my coaching staff has been brilliant giving every encouragement.

“Losing those three games on the bounce was perhaps a blessing in disguise.

“I have quickly learnt that when things are going badly you must not get too disappointed, and when they are going well not to get too carried away.”

Magilton is still on the look-out to bring players in, and to accommodate this there may be one or two of the current staff going out on loan.

“It is a case of going after any good player who becomes available,” he added. “If someone who fits the bill is out there we will do we can to get him whatever position they play.”

Alan Lee and Jon Macken are expected to start again up front with Saturday's match-winner Billy Clarke beginning on the bench.

“In the modern game substitutes carry a massive importance as Billy (Clarke) showed against Southampton,” said Magilton.

“I encourage them to watch the game and study how the opposition is playing so they are ready to capitalise when they go on.

“Games last 90 minutes and it is not asking too much for all 16 of the squad to concentrate for that length of time.”

Wilnis trained on Sunday and yesterday and if he doesn't suffer any late reaction to his thigh injury he could return to the side - with Alex Bruce possible moving across to partner Jason De Vos.

Gavin Williams took a slight knock on Saturday, while there could be a change on the left side of midfield where Matt Richards did not enjoy the best of games.

Sylvain Legwinski could make his full Town debut while Darren Currie, one of the players who could be considered for a loan move away from Portman Road, has filled the left-sided role on many occasions.

“We were perhaps fortunate to win on Saturday, but we showed the right attitude,” said Magilton. “Tonight is a big game against a very good side and we know that we must be at our best.”

Former Norwich striker Leon McKenzie is expected to make his debut, although manager Micky Adams faces a sikilar to that of Jim Magilton, stick with a winning team or freshen things up?

Ipswich: Price, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Williams, Walton, Legwinski, Noble, Macken, Lee, Clarke, Currie, Bowditch, Richards, Brittain, Haynes and Supple.

Coventry: Marshall, Whing, Page, Ward, Hall, Birchall, Hughes, Doyle, Thornton, Kyle, John, McKenzie, Hutchinson, Cameron, Heath, Adebola, Osbourne.

Referee: Paul Taylor (Herts)

n What do you think of Jim Magilton's early efforts as a manager? Write to Sports Desk, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN. Or e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk

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