Jim: Leaving was not an option

JIM Magilton went into today's game at Rotherham with nothing to prove.The genial Northern Ireland international midfielder has let his boots do the talking this season.

By Elvin King

JIM Magilton went into today's game at Rotherham with nothing to prove.

The genial Northern Ireland international midfielder has let his boots do the talking this season.

Just under 12 months ago Magilton was told he could leave Ipswich Town on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old was having none of that and in typical fashion set out to prove the doubters wrong.

And it has worked, with manager Joe Royle today admitting: "Jim has been a big influence as we have moved up the First Division table.

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"He is a vital cog in our machinery and so wants to do well. He had a sense of humour failure when I asked him to come off towards the end of Friday's win over Portsmouth, but that shows the commitment of the lad."

Magilton's four-year contract comes to an end in the summer and it was previous manager George Burley who said he could leave on a free.

With Burley in charge of Derby County at the moment, the last game of the Nationwide League campaign will give Magilton an ideal opportunity to prove to his former boss that his judgment was wrong.

"Leaving on a free was never an option for me," said Magilton.

"I didn't want to depart with any bad feelings or any regrets. I simply did not want to go.

"I was determined to come back this season and give it a go. Being told to leave gave me a challenge.

"I wanted to show the manager and my team-mates that I could still do it at first team level.

"I felt let down by certain people, so I knuckled down in pre-season training to give it a real go."

Magilton's efforts have not been in vain, earning rave reports as Town have moved steadily upward since Royle's arrival.

The Irishman said he has enjoyed his best times at Portman Road, winning promotion to the Premiership, playing in Europe and at Wembley Stadium.

He would like to stay and added: "We are working hard trying to sort something out. Ipswich has financial restrictions in their current situation and I will sit down with people from the club and see what we can achieve.

"Ipswich is the best club I have played for," continued the former Liverpool apprentice, who has also played for Oxford, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday.

"George Burley did a great job and I was sad to see him go, but at the time it was perhaps the only alternative left to the club. Joe Royle has shown faith in me and this has given me an injection of confidence. He has got back to basics.

"He wants to see the ball moving around, and this suits me down to the ground. He is not concerned about my age or anything like that.

"My game is getting the ball down and getting the moves going, nudging the boys along and this is what Joe wants.

"It has been disheartening to see players having to be sold, but the camaraderie is still brilliant. They are a great bunch of lads and we are determined to do everything we can to get into the play-offs."

After today's match, Ipswich have two games left – at home to Wimbledon on Saturday and at Derby seven days later.

After that the play-offs? Time will tell, but Magilton has certainly done his bit to prove the doubters wrong.

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