Jim making magic recovery

JIM Magilton's "Lazarus-like" recovery looks like keeping his 100 per cent attendance record intact at the City Ground tonight.The Ipswich skipper had been all but ruled out by manager Joe Royle for this evening's rearranged away clash with Nottingham Forest (kick-off 7.

JIM Magilton's "Lazarus-like" recovery looks like keeping his 100 per cent attendance record intact at the City Ground tonight.

The Ipswich skipper had been all but ruled out by manager Joe Royle for this evening's rearranged away clash with Nottingham Forest (kick-off 7.45pm).

But he astonished Royle by announcing he had overcome the foot injury that had seen him hobble off just 28 minutes into the 3-2 weekend win at Cardiff.

The Town boss even apologised to The Evening Star, explaining: "I can assure you I didn't intentionally mislead you – Jim's recovery really is Lazarus-like!

"He had a less than ten per cent chance of making it and I even had doubts for Saturday, but he is now in with a big chance."

The good news continued as Royle announced that on-loan midfielder Alan Mahon, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury, would be on the bench.

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And top scorer Pablo Counago is also on the mend, with Town holding him back for the weekend and possible comeback against George Burley's Derby County.

Royle added: "Pablo has had two full days' training and has come through well. Once he has a full week's training under his belt he will be ready."

Dean Bowditch is left out of tonight's squad after playing a leading part in Monday's FA Youth Cup third round win over Leeds at Elland Road.

"He needs a rest," said Royle of the promising 17-year-old. "He played up front on his own, and on a heavy pitch, the other night and the game went into extra time."

Tonight's game is between two sides with vastly contrasting records. While Town have rocketed up the league, losing only twice in 14 games, Forest have slipped to mid-table after a run of just two wins in 13 league outings.

But Royle insisted: "They are a good side, better than their record suggests, but as always it will be about us. We want to carry on our recent form and impose ourselves on them.

"We're fourth and going well and we need to make sure they worry about us."

Forest boss Paul Hart is likely to give a full debut to new £950,000 striker Marlon King, who was signed from Gillingham last week and made a 25-minute substitute appearance in Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by league leaders West Bromwich Albion.

"King can be a handful," Royle acknowledged. "He is a dangerous player in this division."

Forest are still without ex-Ipswich striker David Johnson, who broke his leg in mid-September, while England Under-21 defender Michael Dawson is nursing a hamstring injury.

TONIGHT'S SQUADS

Nottingham Forest: Ward, Louis-Jean, Thompson, Walker, Robertson, Jess, Gunnarsson, Williams, Bopp, Taylor, Reid, King, Morgan, Sonner, Gardner, Roche.

Ipswich: Davis, Wilnis, Naylor, Santos, Richards, Wright, Magilton, Bart-Williams, Westlake, Kuqi, Bent, McGreal, Mahon, Reuser, Armstrong, Price.

Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear).

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