Will Jim still be around in New Year?

WILL Jim Magilton still be around to lead Ipswich Town into the New Year?

Elvin King

WILL Jim Magilton still be around to lead Ipswich Town into the New Year?

Hostility to the under-pressure Blues manager has increased following Saturday defeat by Cardiff City at Portman Road.

Club owner Marcus Evans is still publicly backing Magilton but he has not become a highly successful business mogul by sitting back and waiting for things to happen.

It is believed that Evans' support for Magilton has not been dampened by recent poor results - and a middle of the road first-half of the season that has seen eight wins, eight defeats and seven draws.

Most successful clubs have long-term managers, some who went through rocky stages in their early days - Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Robson among them.

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And Evans is wise enough about football to realise this, with Magilton having received a recent vote of confidence and reported to be safe until the summer at least.

But if Ipswich were to turn in similar inept displays to Saturday's - and recent awful performances at Norwich and Doncaster - over the festive period it could be 'Christmas or Bust' for Magilton.

Saturday's match at Coventry, Boxing Day's home game against Birmingham and the game at Derby two days later could well have a big say in Magilton's future.

Evans might want to trust someone else with spending his millions when the transfer window opens in January, and giving any new boss the time to achieve an outside chance of promotion this campaign.

Season tickets for next season come up for discussion not long into 2009 and Evans might feel his club needs a change to boost sales.

A combination of the credit crunch and a lack of excitement when attending matches at Portman Road these days could result in a considerable reduction in sales that this season stand at just under 16,000.

This would severely hit the pocket of the club next summer, with more and more supporters, turned off by what they have seen this year, opting to attend games on a casual basis.

There is an increasing feeling - and not just among the noisy minority of moaners who will always be quick to criticise unless Ipswich are top of the table - that the Blues are currently heading nowhere.

And Magilton needs a good Christmas. If he can sort things out over the festive period and provide evidence that along, with his staff and players, he has what it takes to string a number of wins together, then the former Blues midfielder and crowd favourite could still have a lengthy and substantial future at Portman Road.

Football is a results business. It is all about winning and, although Town may be within catching distance of the play-offs, they have, perhaps, flattered to deceive too many times.

Paul Ince was a hero at Blackburn Rovers in September. Now he is in grave danger of losing his job.

The Town players returned from the Christmas 'party' in Dublin yesterday and trained in the afternoon - with a double session today.

Team captain Gareth McAuley was on the trip, and is having treatment after being heavily strapped up at half-time on Saturday to help him get through 90 minutes after colliding with a post in the early stages.

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