Jim calls on Sir Bobby for help

WHO better for Ipswich boss Jim Magilton to consult for advice than Sir Bobby Robson?They have plenty in common - both are steeped in football with a burning desire to see Town restored to the upper echelons of the English game.

By Mel Henderson

WHO better for Ipswich boss Jim Magilton to consult for advice than Sir Bobby Robson?

They have plenty in common - both are steeped in football with a burning desire to see Town restored to the upper echelons of the English game.

It was Sir Bobby who put the club on the European map after he took charge in January 1969, gradually coming to terms with the job and then excelling to the extent that he was lured away to manage England in the summer of 1982.

He won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, while Ipswich twice finished runners-up in the League Championship and he groomed a number of players for international stardom.

Magilton, unveiled last month as Joe Royle's successor, would settle for a fraction of that success as he seeks to re-establish Town as a major force once again.

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The former captain broke off from pre-season training to speak to Sir Bobby and ask his verdict on a number of potential signings, their conversation inevitably switching to more general matters.

Magilton, 37, admitted: “I was only on the phone to him for a few minutes but it was definitely time well spent. He had plenty of advice to offer that I have taken on board.

“Basically, I rang him to run a few players by him. There are a number of players out there who are available and nobody knows them better than Sir Bobby.

“He was forthright, which I appreciated. He gave me the thumbs up on some and the thumbs down on others. I couldn't have asked for more.

“From being initially quite nervous about ringing him, he immediately made me feel at ease and was absolutely brilliant.

“It is clear he still loves this club and wants is to do well. The last thing he said to me was 'Don't hesitate to ring again if you feel I can help you'.

“A lot of young managers would love to be able to give Sir Bobby a call and I really appreciated his time. He told me straight about the players I had on my list and was a great help to me.”

Although Sir Bobby quit Portman Road 24 years ago his love affair with Ipswich lingers on and he would like nothing more than for Magilton to restore the glory years.

He is currently employed as a consultant to the Republic of Ireland, mainly assisting new boss Steve Staunton, and at 73 he has a wealth of experience from his time with Ipswich, England and Newcastle, as well as on the continent with PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Magilton is ready to give trialists Colin Healy and Eugen Bopp a run-out in Town's first pre-season game at Boston on Saturday.

Former Celtic and Sunderland midfielder Healy, most recently with Scottish club Livingston, has been promised at least 45 minutes at York Street.

Magilton said: “It was always the plan to play Colin and I am now thinking in terms of also giving Eugen a half to show what he can do.

“They both look fit and well, and I'll be keeping an eye on them in training. Eugen was with Bayern Munich before he came over to join Nottingham Forest, so he has pedigree as Colin does.”

But Magilton has had to scrap plans, at least for the time being, to bring in a young Premiership player on trial.

He said: “I thought I had something lined up but it has failed to materialise. The lad has gone back to his club with aspirations of playing in the first team, which is exactly how it should be.

“But the situation's not necessarily dead. I will monitor it over the next few weeks and something might still happen.”

Town, Southampton, Norwich and Hull are being linked with Tottenham winger Mark Yeates, who had a successful spell on loan at Colchester last season.

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