Jim admits Town are missing De Vos

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton today admitted that the team are missing the inspirational Jason De Vos.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton today admitted that the team are missing the inspirational Jason De Vos.

The departure of the former Blues' skipper has proved more significant to the club's fortunes than the arrival over the last ten months of a whole new team.

Magilton knew he would have a huge gap to fill once the Canadian international decided to hang up his boots at the end of last season.

And he sees this as a major reason why Town started today's Coca-Cola Championship game at Plymouth Argyle right down in 18th position.

“Jason was a leader,” said Magilton. “We are missing that, both on and off the pitch.

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“Every manager in the Coca-Cola Championship is looking for a player of Jason's stature, but they are few and far between.

“He was much more than just a strong and reliable defender for us.

“His presence and strength of character were also such a plus and the dressing room has missed him.

“I have high hopes of bringing along Tommy Smith to take on the De Vos role in the not too distant future, while young Dutch defender Pim Balkestein also has what it takes to mature into a leader on the field.”

While Magilton has signed a whole new team - 11 players - since Marcus Evans took over the ownership of the club last December, results have dipped over the last 12 months.

And the manager puts much of this down to the fact that his team has had to learn to play without their former lynch pin.

Gareth McAuley has been signed from Leicester City to take De Vos' place at the heart of the Ipswich defence and he was made team captain just before the campaign kicked-off.

Town's longest serving player - Richard Naylor - was named club captain by Magilton on his return to full fitness after 18 months out with injury.

Both have yet to fill De Vos' boots with the same authority as the Canadian, who is now involved in media work in his home country.

Magilton has stayed loyal to McAuley and Naylor filling the central defending roles with Alex Bruce - De Vos' partner for much of last season - confined to warming the substitutes' bench in recent weeks.

Despite growing concern among fans at Ipswich's poor play this season, Magilton remains optimistic, and says that he plans to be more cautious in his appraisal of games in future.

He explained: “After the recent home draw with Swansea my reaction at the post-match press conference was to be over critical of my players.

“But when I watched a recording of the game I gained a different impression and we were not as disappointing as I first thought.

“I know where we are heading, and I know we are improving.

“We are slowly but surely getting there.

“I have faith in my players' abilities. Now it is up to me to instil this confidence into the players.”

Town set off for their Plymouth town centre hotel just after lunch yesterday, and after they return to Suffolk tonight they have home league games against Charlton on Tuesday and QPR next Saturday.