Jim hoping old pals' act will help

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton is hoping an old pals' act will help to earn his team at least a point from tomorrow's trip to Cardiff.Magilton's preparations have been boosted by his friendship with Colchester counterpart Geraint “George” Williams, who is also a neighbour of the Town manager.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton is hoping an old pals' act will help to earn his team at least a point from tomorrow's trip to Cardiff.

Magilton's preparations have been boosted by his friendship with Colchester counterpart Geraint “George” Williams, who is also a neighbour of the Town manager.

The U's returned from Ninian Park six days ago with a hard-earned point thanks to a goalless draw with the third-placed Bluebirds.

And Magilton has been comparing notes with Williams this week over a drink at their local pub, where they have met on a regular basis over the years.

Magilton, who is without suspended top scorer Alan Lee against his former club, laughed: “Let's get one thing straight - George is more of a regular than I am.

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“But seriously, of course we have chatted about Cardiff. He's taken his team down there and very few people gave them a chance of getting anything out of the game.

“But they've worked hard for their point and might even have won the game - I'd be silly not to ask George to mark my card.

“We've done our homework with scouting reports, as we always do, but George is a good judge and has recent experience of playing against Cardiff so it makes sense to take his advice on board.

“As far as Colchester are concerned, I would always do what I could to help them, and I know it works the other way too - even if George has always been a Cardiff supporter.”

Ipswich are desperate to cash in on the Welshmen's recent wobbly run of four games without a goal, never mind a victory, that has cost them top slot in the Championship.

But Town's recent run is nothing special, the welcome win over Norwich being their only success in seven games that have reaped a mere five points since Luton were thrashed 5-0 in October.

Magilton, who welcomes back Dan Harding and Simon Walton after suspension, said: “I'll be looking for us to make a high-tempo start to the game and to keep it going all the way through.

“We started well against Burnley then lost our way slightly, but we did it again in the second half and we would have won that game, rather than need a late penalty to draw it, had we taken our chances.”

Cardiff have problems in midfield. With Stephen McPhail suspended and both Paul Parry and Willo Flood ruled out by thigh injuries, ex-Wolves winger Kevin Cooper is set for his first start of the season.

But at least they are guaranteed a bumper crowd, since it is a game fans must attend if they want to be eligible to buy a ticket for their FA Cup third round tie against Tottenham on January 7, which is being shown live on Sky Sports.

SQUADS

CARDIFF: Alexander, McNaughton, Purse, Johnson, Wright, Kamara, Scimeca, Ledley, Cooper, Chopra, Thompson, Gunter, Loovens, Blake, Campbell, Glombard and Howard.

IPSWICH: Price, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Williams, Walton, Garvan, Legwinski, Roberts, Clarke, Macken, Haynes, Peters, Casement, Moore and Supple.

Referee: Andy Hall (West Midlands).

n A lucky omen? The last time Andy Hall took charge of Ipswich was when they won 3-2 at Cardiff in November 2003 thanks to goals by Tommy Miller (penalty), Georges Santos and Chris Bart-Williams.

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