Reading game will test the nerves

SATURDAY will be a nervous occasion at Portman Road and the countdown has begun.Anything less than a win for Ipswich Town against Reading and pressure will increase.

Elvin King



SATURDAY will be a nervous occasion at Portman Road and the countdown has begun.

Anything less than a win for Ipswich Town against Reading and pressure will increase.

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Can the Blues do it, and get their season back on course?

If they find themselves with just one win from their opening five Coca-Cola Championship fixtures, they will be in a position from which it will be difficult to mount a serious promotion campaign.

If they win they will be perched comfortably in the top half of the table.

Manager Jim Magilton knows he needs three points to quell a growing criticism from fans, and to keep on course for club owner Marcus Evans' quest for a Premier League place as quickly as possible.

A Reading win would no doubt lead to a chorus of boos echoing around Portman Road and more radio phone-in and message board condemnation by the noisy minority of supporters.

And it would then mean a long unbeaten run by Ipswich to lift themselves into the top half of the table by the end of October when Evans could well be asking some awkward questions of his manager.

Town's supporters will get behind the team and give them every chance - this is the way they are made.

They are desperate for something concrete to grasp so that their dreams for Town to become a force in English football again will be fulfilled.

No fans in the country enjoy the good times better than Ipswich Town's, and the vast majority are still backing Magilton and will give him every chance.

After little more than a month into the season, any talk of changing managers is ridiculous.

However, what a relief it would be if Saturday's display was much better than we have seen so far this term. If there was evidence that good times may be just around the corner.

Then there would still be plenty of time to wriggle into a challenging position and be up around the top six by the end of next month.

Then anything could happen, and the expectations before a ball was kicked in earnest that promotion could be obtained this season could still come to fruition.

Magilton has a large squad to pick from, and after his opening day shock selections he has remained relatively consistent in his team sheet.

To pick two untried youngsters in the back four against Preston on August 9 in Pim Balkestein and Tommy Smith was a brave move but one that was always likely to come unstuck.

In hindsight the addition of Alex Bruce (Richard Naylor wasn't 100per cent fit) would have made a big difference - and three points against the Lillywhites could have meant a totally different league placement by now.

Owen Garvan (two goals last night) will surely come into midfield if he returns from international duty with no ill effects, and Town fans will home Jon Stead will pep up the front line on what would be his debut.

After winning game after game at Portman Road last season without the benefit of the Evans millions it would be a difficult pill to swallow if Reading made it three home defeats in a row.

Yes, Saturday will be a nervous day for Ipswich Town.