Magilton: Biggest week of season

JIM Magilton and his men are prepared for what the Ipswich Town skipper thinks could be the biggest week of the season."Our home First Division games against Burnley and Stoke City are just as important as the two matches we played at Portman Road immediately after we sunk to the bottom of the table," said Magilton.

By Elvin King

JIM Magilton and his men are prepared for what the Ipswich Town skipper thinks could be the biggest week of the season.

"Our home First Division games against Burnley and Stoke City are just as important as the two

matches we played at Portman Road immediately after we sunk to the bottom of the table," said Magilton.


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"If we can collect six points – as we did against Walsall and Wimbledon – it will make a huge statement about our ability to make an impact on the promotion race.

"Clubs will start to look over their shoulders and we will be in a challenging position. We will be in position to be around in the shake-up."

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Magilton knows it will be

difficult tonight against a Burnley side in full stride and against a Stoke City team likely to be lifted by playing in front of live TV

cameras on Saturday night.

"Both matches are winnable, but we need to stay focused, to be spot on," added Magilton, who refused to look at the league table after Town lost 4-1 to West Brom on September 13 to go bottom.

"I was upset," he said. "It had never appeared on my cv before. I had every confidence we would rise up and the table looks much better now. There has always been a work ethic at this club, but

confidence was low and youngsters were being put into pressure

situations.

"We needed something to go our way after no wins in our first six games – and it came with an

injection of new blood.

"Manager Joe Royle knew we needed mending and his timing was right. There has been a big turnaround since Chris Bart-Williams and Alan Mahon arrived on loan.

"We are much balanced with Alan providing width and Chris doing the spadework in midfield. There is fresh banter in the

dressing room and confidence is now high.

"Chris' arrival has given me a licence to go forward and it is

certainly no coincidence that both Jermaine Wright and myself are now playing much better."

Magilton said he understood how Bart-Williams felt when he joined to Portman Road staff just before the West Brom game from Charlton Athletic.

"When I first joined Ipswich I was on loan from Sheffield Wednesday and I was desperate to show the Owls what I could do. I so wanted to prove what they were missing.

"I soon became engrossed into the Ipswich way of doing things and getting a full contract became a priority. Chris has shown the same determination.

"I love it here and have enjoyed my time at Portman Road more than with any other club – and I have been with some good ones.

"Sheki Kuqi followed the first two on loan and has helped give us a physical presence that we were lacking against West Brom. I am not going to make rash predictions, but we can go on from here."

Magilton also has praise for Royle, who he rates as the most approachable manager he has played under. The 34-year-old

former Northern Ireland

international skipper added: "Joe is very honest and makes life easy for us. He has a great manner, although he has lost his temper a few times this season and understandably so.

"He has identified new areas in my game and has seen a place

further forward for me. He can see that I can hurt the opposition in their half."

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