Magic may be back

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is refusing to rule out skipper Jim Magilton for tomorrow's opening game of the season at home to Gillingham.Magilton, 35, is struggling to overcome a thigh injury and the odds are stacked against him appearing against the men from Kent, who are seeking a third successive away win over Town.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is refusing to rule out skipper Jim Magilton for tomorrow's opening game of the season at home to Gillingham.

Magilton, 35, is struggling to overcome a thigh injury and the odds are stacked against him appearing against the men from Kent, who are seeking a third successive away win over Town.

Royle said: “Jim has come back from the dead before. I've known him to come in and confirm his fitness when we'd all but written him off, so we're not ruling him out.


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“Having said that, it doesn't look good, but you never know with Jim. If it was anyone else I'd have written them off. If he is available it will be a massive bonus.”

There is better news of deputy captain Jason De Vos, who hobbled off towards the end of Monday's win over Spanish side Osasuna.

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Royle said: “Jason has a far better chance than Jim of making it. After rest and treatment over the past few days I'm hopeful he will play. Both Matt Richards and Kevin Horlock have trained this week and will be fine.”

Gills' player-manager Andy Hessenthaler, ruled out of tomorrow's game with suspension, took in the Osasuna game in the company of new player-coach Iwan Roberts, who was released by Norwich at the end of last season.

He said: “It's hard to read too much into it but we already know they're going to be a very good

footballing side.

“They've got Jason De Vos in. He's a good player, very intimidating. Kevin Horlock from West Ham has come into their midfield, but they've lost a few so it will be interesting.

“They've got some really good youngsters as well but we beat them at their place last year and the year before, so let's see if we can make it three times in a row.

“We've got to be on our game. We know what we've got to do and we're looking forward to it.”

Roberts is set to make his official debut for the Gills at a ground where he knows what sort of reception to expect after his efforts on behalf of the Canaries.

Gillingham will also give a debut to another summer signing, former Aston Villa and Rotherham striker Darren Byfield, who was signed on a free transfer from Sunderland.

Defenders Ian Cox (back) and Barry Ashby (ankle) are their only two doubts, but Hessenthaler is confident both will be fit to play.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Davis, Diallo, De Vos, Naylor, Richards, Miller, Magilton, Horlock, Westlake, Bent, Kuqi, Bowditch, Wilnis, Counago, Barron, Mitchell, Murray, Price.

GILLINGHAM: Banks, Nosworthy, Hills, L Johnson, Ashby, Cox, Hope, Smith, Spiller, Perpetuini, Saunders, Roberts, T Johnson, Agyemang, Byfield, Sidibe, Southall, Jarvis, Brown.

Referee: André Marriner (West Midlands).

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