Magilton confident for season ahead

TOWN boss Jim Magilton believes he will rise to the challenge of achieving the minimum of a top six place amid growing levels of expectation at Portman Road.

Stuart Watson

TOWN boss Jim Magilton believes he will rise to the challenge of achieving the minimum of a top six place amid growing levels of expectation at Portman Road.

The Irishman has enjoyed a solid start to his managerial career, improving on the mid-table finish from his first full season in charge to just miss out on the play-off places this year.

But with Marcus Evans' significant investment in the club having arrived the expectancy to gain promotion has been significantly raised amongst the Town faithful.

Magilton said: “We have made improvements and we are moving forward and the expectations will be there for that to continue.

“I'm comfortable with that. It's nothing more than I would expect myself. My aim next season is to be up there at the higher echelons of the Championship and be competitive all year.

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“To help us do that we have to get the right players in. To get the players that will help raise the bar and build on the confidence that's already within the squad.

“If we can achieve that we will continue to move forward. That's got to be the aim and it will take us to the next step and that means a top six place or automatic promotion.”

Meanwhile, Town are still waiting to finalise the signing of 6ft 4in Dutch defender Pim Balkestein from Heerenveen, with the 21-year-old currently negotiating personal terms.

Earlier this week Ipswich's chief executive Derek Bowden said he was confident the deal would be done soon.

He said: “We need to agree personal terms with him and then he has to have a medical. Hopefully that can be concluded this week.”

Bowden also hopes to be in a position to formally offer the job of overseas scout to the successful candidate by the end of the week.

It is believed that former Town favourite and FA Cup winner David Geddis is in a three-way tussle for the job along with Simon Hunt and another candidate.

The overseas scout role is seen as very important to Town's future development and a crucial part of improving the team to compete among the best.

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