Magilton believes season is a success

WHATEVER happens in tomorrow's do-or-die date with destiny, Blues' boss Jim Magilton believes this season has been a relative success.To be playing for a place in the play-offs on the last day of the regular season represents a big improvement on the past two seasons and for Magilton, taking charge of his 99th game as Town manager, it is a step in the right direction.

Derek Davis

WHATEVER happens in tomorrow's do-or-die date with destiny, Blues' boss Jim Magilton believes this season has been a relative success.

To be playing for a place in the play-offs on the last day of the regular season represents a big improvement on the past two seasons and for Magilton, taking charge of his 99th game as Town manager, it is a step in the right direction.

He said: “We have made great strides this season.

“Compared to last year when we had Cardiff at home, which was a meaningless fixture, apart from playing for pride and making a statement going into the new season, this is amazing.

“People's opinion of our season could be that given the way Championship has been it has given everyone an opportunity to go up and they may feel we have wasted that opportunity.

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“But then every manager will feel the same way but the success of my team is such that we have made real progress and that is very important.

“If it doesn't happen for us this year then we will go away and lick our wounds and come back ready.

“We know we will be better equipped next year. We will make one or two signings that will make us stronger and we have players who have already improved us.”

While the Blues are confident they can win their 15th home game of the season, their fate is still in the hands of others and Magilton fears the lack of motivation for Burnley, who are at Palace, and Plymouth at Wolves, can work against Town

Magilton said: “Every manager and player will go into the game wanting to win. How the game pans out is another matter with those teams with nothing to play for go a goal down and the disappointment kicks in and the mind wanders to the beach and that is something we have to be aware of.

“We have not been very lucky in last day of the season games. Certainly as a player I can remember situations when we have missed out on automatic promotion and play-offs, so I hope we get a bit of the rub of the green this time.”

All Town can do is win their match and Magilton's pre-match message to his players, who won't need any motivating, is to worry only about what they can effect.

He said: “We have an opportunity to get into the play-offs against Hull who have a dream of going into the Premier League

“This really is a must win game.

“We thought Preston was but a draw was enough. At 2-1 down we looked dead and buried but we showed great character and Jon (Walters) scored a goal that could have massive repercussions for us.

“Against Hull we have to play a high tempo game and start brightly. There is a lot riding on the game so there will be a lot of nerves and it will be the team that settles quickest and gets into their rhythm and stride.

“I hope with the crowd behind us it is us and we can dominate the game.”

Magilton hinted he may tweak his starting line-up and that could mean the refreshed Alan Lee starting up front with Pablo Counago and Walters going wide right as they did so successfully at the start of the season.

That would mean Danny Haynes would be likely to be on the bench.

Magilton said: “Danny looks as if he is suffering from the effects of a long season but this is one game.

Ipswich Town squad: Bywater, Colgan, Simpson, Sito, Wright, Harding, Bruce, De Vos, Williams, Garvan, Miller, Sumulikoski, Trotter, Haynes, Quinn, Walters, Lee Kuqi, Counago.

Hull City squad: Myhill, Ricketts, Brown, Turner, Dawson; Fagan, Ashbee, Marney, Hughes, Folan, Campbell, Duke, Windass, Walton, Barmby, Doyle, France.

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