Magilton: Fasten your seatbelts

IPSWICH skipper Jim Magilton today savoured his team's table-topping success, then warned fans: “Fasten your seatbelts.”Magilton, 35, sees a potentially bumpy ride ahead over Town's remaining 22 league games as they look to stay in pole position in the promotion race.

IPSWICH skipper Jim Magilton today savoured his team's table-topping success, then warned fans: “Fasten your seatbelts.”

Magilton, 35, sees a potentially bumpy ride ahead over Town's remaining 22 league games as they look to stay in pole position in the promotion race.

“It wouldn't be Ipswich if it wasn't,” smiled the experienced midfielder.

Remarkably, Town have been behind in their last three games and hit back to take seven points from a possible nine. Last night they once again recovered from falling behind to not only beat Wigan 2-1 but also replace them as league leaders.

It has been something of a pattern all season as the Blues have consistently shrugged off the disappointment of conceding the first goal and even, on occasions, two.

Magilton added: “I'd love to say that now we're on top we are going to stay there and run away with it, but it could go right to the wire.

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“My advice to our supporters is to get ready for a memorable second half of the season. It won't be dull, so they should fasten their seatbelts.

“It's going to be exciting and if we can keep our team spirit and togetherness all the way through we're not going to be far away at the end.”

Magilton is currently enjoying his football as much as at any stage of a distinguished career.

And he explained: “I think we have grown stronger out of adversity.

“We've been through a really difficult time at this club and had to release some very good players, but great credit must go to the young lads who have come in to plug the gaps.

“We have a great camaraderie among all the players. You build it up and you hope it will come through when you get the sticky moments in games, like last night.

“Wigan scored an unbelievable goal. It was a fantastic strike by their lad, but we showed our resilience. We dug in and showed we had plenty left.”

Magilton also took time out to praise manager Joe Royle, who resuscitated the experienced midfielder after succeeding George Burley in October 2002.

Magilton said: “The team spirit we have epitomises what the gaffer is all about. I don't think you will find a more decent human being within the football ranks.

“He always came across to me as someone who would have time for you and ever since he arrived at the club he has been there for every one of us.”

There is no chance, Magilton insisted, of Ipswich getting carried away by the fact that they have claimed top slot for the third time this season.

He added: “It would be lovely for someone to hand me a prize and say 'well done' but we all know you get nothing for being top at Christmas.

“Come Thursday I know where I'll be - back on the training ground with my feet firmly on the floor.

“That goes for all the lads, although we have given ourselves a wonderful platform.”

It was the Town captain's long-distance pass that paved the way for Darren Bent's dramatic late clincher last night.

And Magilton said: “Darren wasn't having the best of nights, but he has this lovely habit of scoring goals and I hope he never loses it.”

Magilton also praised the fans' contribution to a memorable occasion.

He said: “The atmosphere was tremendous. Full credit to our supporters for sticking with us and I was delighted that we could reward them.”

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