Let's make Portman Road a fortress - Jim
A DEFIANT Jim Magilton is looking to steer Ipswich Town back on track to reach the Premiership.No one has been hurt more by the Blues' disappointing run of results of late and the Town skipper is determined to help put things right, starting by making Portman Road a more difficult place for their rivals to come.
By Derek Davis
A DEFIANT Jim Magilton is looking to steer Ipswich Town back on track to reach the Premiership.
No one has been hurt more by the Blues' disappointing run of results of late and the Town skipper is determined to help put things right, starting by making Portman Road a more difficult place for their rivals to come.
He said: “We have done very well since that bad start to the season to get where we are and we don't want to slip away now. On the contrary, we want to push on because not only is staying in the play-off places vital we want to press on for promotion.
“I'm sure Wigan will feel the same way and like us still fancy their chances. We are neck-and-neck with them and this is a tremendously important game for us. We have not been playing well of late and we really need to get back on track.
“We are all working extremely hard to click back into gear, perhaps we are trying too hard at times.
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“We really need to beat Wigan on Saturday, especially at home. It is about time we sent a message out to teams that they can't come to Portman Road and expect to get anything.”
Magilton and Wigan boss Paul Jewell's career paths crossed as the Scouser was leaving Liverpool just as the young Irishman arrived at Anfield as an apprentice.
He said: “I only know their manager slightly through the Liverpool connection, but he is someone I have a lot of time and respect for.
“He has done an excellent job at Wigan, getting them promoted and after seeing them first-hand last August I'm not at all surprised at how well they have done
“They are one of the better sides we have faced this season and I have been very impressed with them.”
Before Magilton signed a new extension to his contract last summer, he was strongly linked with a move to Wigan.
He said: “There was talk of it but I never heard anything official or concrete from Paul and when I signed a new contract here, that was the end of it anyway.”
The last person any of the Town players wanted to see facing them was popular winger Alan Mahon, who made a big impression in his three months at Portman Road.
He said: “Alan was top class when he was here with us, on and off the pitch. He is absolute quality and has been sadly missed. I know that Ipswich was his first choice but finances dictated that we could not get him.
“He will love coming here and will want to do well. Good luck to him at Wigan and, of course, it is typical that his first game has to be against us.”
And Magilton insists Mahon will not be the only dangerman Town face today. He said: “Jason Roberts is another fine capture by Wigan. He turned down the chance to stay in the Premiership with Pompey to go to Wigan so he must see a good future for them.
“Him linking up with (Nathan) Ellington again will be interesting and if they hit it off as they did before they will cause problems. To have a goal threat like those two who can virtually guarantee you 20 goals apiece in a season is a great benefit.
“That showed with David Johnson and Marlon Harewood at Nottingham Forest last season and see what has happened to them since Johnno broke his leg.”
And the Irishman, who skippered Northern Ireland in the latter stages of his 52-game international career, insisted he would not be going back onto the world footballing stage.
He said: “Absolutely not. I enjoyed 12 great years with Northern Ireland and it was a very difficult decision to retire from international football but once I made my mind up there is no going back.
“That would only stop a young player coming through and they are the future. I wish Lawrie (Sanchez) every success and I'm sure he will do a fine job but I'm not going to change my mind.”