Jim: We're at the crossroads

SKIPPER Jim Magilton believes Ipswich are at the crossroads.And he expects the next few games to determine the direction in which the club is headed.

By Mel Henderson

SKIPPER Jim Magilton believes Ipswich are at the crossroads.

And he expects the next few games to determine the direction in which the club is headed.

The experienced midfielder said: “Our current league position is down to inconsistency and if we can put that right I firmly believe we can push ourselves a lot closer.

“We need to achieve consistency, which means turning draws into wins and putting a decent run of results together.

“Confidence is the key ingredient. If we can start putting points on the board on a regular basis it will help enormously.”

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Magilton, 36, sees tomorrow's visit of second-placed Sheffield United as the perfect opportunity for Town to ram home the message that the play-offs are within reach.

He added: “This is a game when we hope to rise to the occasion. I don't know why, but let's just say that United tend to bring out the best in us.

“If we can beat a team who are already well down the road to the Premiership it will say a lot about us and what we are capable of doing.

“It will be a fantastic three points for us. There is history between the two clubs - it goes back to the play-offs before I came here - and games against them have never lacked excitement.

“There have been storming comebacks and tremendous performances, like last year when we thumped them 5-1, and with them flying high right now it's a big ask.”

Magilton believes the introduction of fresh firepower, in the shape of new signing Alan Lee, is a timely boost to Town's chances.

But while he definitely subscribes to the glass-half-full philosophy, the veteran schemer is not blind to the fact that play-off ambition could just as easily be dashed in the coming weeks.

He added: “You have to be realistic. We are eight points adrift of sixth spot and we have to close that gap. That means winning games.

“But we also have to accept that the games are starting to run out. There is only a certain amount of time to get things right.

“We also have to remember that we are just one of about a dozen clubs who also fancy their chances of making the play-offs.”

Magilton hopes to overcome a back problem in time for tomorrow's game, but strike pair Nicky Forster and Adam Proudlock are both ruled out and will be seeing a specialist about their on-going knee injuries.

Teenage midfielder Owen Garvan, who suffered a dead leg in the FA Cup defeat by Portsmouth, is also a minor doubt.


IPSWICH: Supple, Wilnis, Naylor, De Vos, Barron, Sito, Williams, Magilton, Juan, Garvan, Westlake, Richards, Currie, Lee, Haynes, Bowditch, McDonald and Price.

SHEFFIELD UNITED: Kenny, Geary, Bromby, Morgan, Unsworth, Ifill, Tonge, Montgomery, Jagielka, Flitcroft, Armstrong, Shipperley, Webber, Quinn, Kabba, Kozluk, Gillespie, Wright, Zhang Yaokun.

Referee: Mr Clive Penton (Sussex).