Play-off place still in Town's sights

IT'S still on - that was the battle cry from Ipswich Town today as they prepared to launch “Operation Norwich”.Although last night's 1-1 home draw against Cardiff City heralded a return of just two points from Town's last three games, an upbeat club source said: “We are still fully up for the promotion onslaught but are realistic and know that the derby game on Sunday is now a must-win.

IT'S still on - that was the battle cry from Ipswich Town today as they prepared to launch “Operation Norwich”.

Although last night's 1-1 home draw against Cardiff City heralded a return of just two points from Town's last three games, an upbeat club source said: “We are still fully up for the promotion onslaught but are realistic and know that the derby game on Sunday is now a must-win.”

Barnsley gained a shock 3-0 win at Watford - a result which confirmed Colchester United's relegation - as the pressure mounts on clubs jostling for play-off positions.

And, after Ipswich were unlucky to see a last-minute Danny Haynes effort controversially disallowed for nothing more than a nudge, there was further good news for Town fans when Magilton outlined his determination to keep Owen Garvan amid increasing interest from Premier League clubs.

The Town boss confirmed that he has offered the 20-year-old midfielder a two-year extension on to his current contract that ends in the summer of 2009.

If Garvan agrees to sign then the Dublin-born player would be tied to Portman Road until 2011.

Most Read

“Owen has become an important member of our squad,” said Magilton.

“He has a bright future in the game and I want that to be at Portman Road.

“I have offered him a two-year deal and I want him to be part of the future of this football club.”

Wigan and West Ham are two clubs reported to be keen on taking Garvan in the summer, but Magilton has stepped in to offer the player a good deal to stay put.

Garvan had a hand in Jordan Rhodes' second-half equaliser as the Tractor Boys came from behind to gain a 1-1 home draw with FA Cup finalists Cardiff City in the Coca-Cola Championship last night.

Town fans showed their frustration by booing when Alex Rae put Cardiff ahead in the 37th minute after an error by Danny Simpson and again at the half-time whistle.

But Town improved after the break once Rhodes came on at the interval to score his first senior goal in the 73rd minute.

A controversial decision to disallow a Danny Haynes 90th minute effort denied Town all three points, and they are left to hope they can win at least three of their last four games to claim a play-off place.

Magilton - already in hot water over falling out with referees - called the standard of refereeing shambolic after Tommy Miller's nudge at Peter Whittingham was deemed sufficient by referee Russell Booth to deny a goal.

Garvan will consider the Ipswich offer and be ready for the Norwich City game on Sunday.

It has been a good week for him personally having been included in the full Irish squad for the first time, although the 40-strong party is to be reduced to 28 later this month.

Garvan said: “It is a great honour to be in line to play for my country at senior level.

“My Under-21 manager Don Givens said that he had put my name forward.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter