Jones one of the best - Jim

JIM Magilton today paid tribute to rival boss Dave Jones, against whom he pits his wits this weekend.Magilton takes his Ipswich team to Cardiff, where Jones has seen his own side surrender pole position in the Championship as a result of an amazing goal drought that has lasted precisely seven hours and seven minutes.

By Mel Henderson

JIM Magilton today paid tribute to rival boss Dave Jones, against whom he pits his wits this weekend.

Magilton takes his Ipswich team to Cardiff, where Jones has seen his own side surrender pole position in the Championship as a result of an amazing goal drought that has lasted precisely seven hours and seven minutes.

But while Magilton would love to see the Bluebirds' barren spell extended by another 90 minutes, he took time out from his preparations to heap praise on the man who was once his boss.


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The pair were together at Southampton - Jones as manager and Magilton his skipper - when their careers overlapped briefly.

Magilton, who gave an impresssive performance at last night's AGM, said: “Alan Ball bought me from Oxford and then we had Dave Merrington and Graeme Souness as managers before Dave came in. I enjoyed working with him but it didn't last too long.

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“He took over in the summer of 1997 and when Sheffield Wednesday came calling for me in September that year I decided it would be in my best interests to move on.

“Dave knows the game inside out. He is still one of the best managers around and his record confirms that. He won promotion to the Premiership with Wolves and is trying to do it all over again on behalf of Cardiff.”

The Welsh club's failure to score in their last four games against Colchester, Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday and QPR puzzles Magilton.

He added: “I rate their strike partnership of Michael Chopra and Steven Thompson as good as any of the front pairs around at this level.

“The goals can run out for any team in any league. It is obviously a blip because they were right at the top of the league not so long ago and it seemed they might pull clear.

“But this is such a tight league, especially this season. Despite not winning any of their last four games they are only two points off the summit, so they're not doing too much wrong.”

Ipswich will be without suspended striker Alan Lee against the club who sold him to Town for £100,000 in January this year, but defender Dan Harding and on-loan midfielder Simon Walton are back in the squad after serving one-game bans.

Magilton admitted Lee's absence may result in a 4-5-1 shape at Ninian Park with 18-year-old Billy Clarke favourite to occupy the role of lone striker.

The Town boss said: “It is definitely an option. We tried it at Burnley a few weeks ago and played very well for large parts of that game, despite losing to a late goal.

“When I send out my team to play that way I want to have real pace in the wide positions and look to the midfield three to control possession.”

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