Jim seeks first win

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton is looking for a first-ever win at Sunderland tomorrow to help him celebrate a special anniversary.It will be eight years, almost to the day, since the player-turned-manager made his debut for Town at the Stadium of Light.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton is looking for a first-ever win at Sunderland tomorrow to help him celebrate a special anniversary.

It will be eight years, almost to the day, since the player-turned-manager made his debut for Town at the Stadium of Light.

He was on loan from Sheffield Wednesday at the time and recalled: “I remember the team bus picked me up on the A1 and we lost the game 2-1.

“I have never had a win up there yet I always look forward to going there. They are really passionate fans and there is always a good atmosphere.

“That is sure to be the case tomorrow because Sunderland are on a steady climb up the Championship table and their supporters are starting to think in terms of maybe being back in the Premiership next season.”

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When Magilton played the first of his 315 games for Town he could have had no idea that he would one day become manager, but now that he is in charge he is doubly determined that the club's miserable record on Wearside will improve.

You have to go back almost 18 years - to August 1989 - for Ipswich's last win up there. In seven league and cup trips since the Black Cats quit Roker Park, the best they have managed is a 2-2 draw on their inaugural visit.

Add the fact that Roy Keane's team are just three points adrift of the play-off zone and it appears Magilton and his players face a daunting task as they pursue only their fourth away win of the current campaign.

Ipswich are set to give a debut to new signing David Wright from Wigan, while Sunderland will unveil £2million striker Anthony Stokes after they saw off the challenge of Celtic and Charlton to sign the Irish teenager from Arsenal.

Keane has also brought in former Town target Jonny Evans, a Northern Ireland international defender on loan from Manchester United, and £1.5m Trinidad and Tobago winger Carlos Edwards from Luton.

It is clear that Sunderland's spending power far exceeds that of Ipswich and Magilton smiled: “I think you'll find that was one of the reasons Roy took the job.

“He had not been there long when we played them at Portman Road and it's been a case of steady improvement since then. No doubt about it, he is doing a good job.

“It was a good, competitive game at our place and on the balance of play I'm sure Roy would have felt a bit hard done by after our 3-1 win.

“Two mistakes cost them in the end but they were in it right to the death and it could well have gone a different way. He has improved his squad since then, bringing in more of his own men.

“At the same time we have been better away from home in the league and in my view we played quite well at both Coventry and West Brom. We got three points from the two games but I felt we deserved a little bit more than that.”

Magilton, who promised Town will head for Sunderland fully intending to “have a go at them”, is likely to make changes following last week's goalless FA Cup draw at Chester.

Lewis Price should return in goal at the expense of Shane Supple, while a debut for Wright will leave Alex Bruce to challenge for a place in the centre of the defence.

Magilton said the fitness of midfielder Gavin Williams was still causing concern, to the point where he admitted: “It might get to the stage where we leave him out for a couple of weeks and hope that the rest clears things up.”

Williams was sidelined for seven weeks after groin surgery but the problem persists and he has only made seven 90-minute appearances all season.

Darren Currie, back after his loan spell at Coventry, could come in for Matt Richards while Danny Haynes may start in attack for Ipswich.

Sunderland, already without injured Steve Caldwell and suspended Liam Miller, have a doubt over Stanislav Varga but Nyron Nosworthy has returned to training after a two-hamstring problem.

Tomorrow's squads

SUNDERLAND: Ward, Whitehead, Nosworthy, Evans, Varga, Wallace, Edwards, Yorke, Leadbitter, Hysen, Connolly, Stokes, Collins, Clarke, Elliott, Murphy and Fulop.

IPSWICH: Price, Wright, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Roberts, Garvan, Legwinski, Richards, Lee, Clarke, Casement, Williams, Currie, Peters, Haynes, Brittain, Moore and Supple

Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton).

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