Magilton's heart is set on a recall

JIM Magilton is hoping his love for Ipswich Town will result in a Valentine's Day recall to the first team for tonight's Coca-Cola Championship match at Crewe Alexandra (kick-off 7.45).

By Elvin King

JIM Magilton is hoping his love for Ipswich Town will result in a Valentine's Day recall to the first team for tonight's Coca-Cola Championship match at Crewe Alexandra (kick-off 7.45pm).

Manager Joe Royle is keeping his options close to his chest, but he must decide whether to play

36-year-old club skipper Magilton as a midfield replacement for the suspended Owen Garvan.

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Alternatively, he could play Richard Naylor up front as partner to Alan Lee with Darren Currie, Jimmy Juan, Matt Richards and Ian Westlake

filling the midfield.

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But on the back of a seven-match unbeaten league run, the manager is likely to keep his tried and trusted back four in place, which will mean right back Sito Castro remaining on the bench.

Magilton's games for Ipswich are running out as he will be leaving in the summer. If the right loan move comes along the former Northern Ireland international could be out of Portman Road sooner.

He is never happy to sit out games, and will revel in a chance to help his beloved Blues move three points closer to the play-off aim at Gresty Road.

His experience could be vital, and his involvement would release in-form Darren Currie to move forward and play just behind Lee.

Vemund Brekke Skard, an avid follower of the Winter Olympics, has won his own gold medal by being called into the Town squad in place of Garvan.

The 24-year-old accomplished long distance skier has had his move from the lows of Norwegian football to the English Championship rubber stamped by Royle's decision to include him in his 16-strong party.

The midfielder is expected to start on the bench at bottom-of-the-table and up-for-sale Crewe, but the fact that he is in Cheshire confirms the excellent impression he has made since arriving.

If he gets some of the action tonight it will complete a fairytale few weeks.

Royle said: “Vemund may have had only one reserve match, but he has proved he can play.

“He can handle the ball and is rock hard and is a workaholic.

“Vemund might be more of a Robbie Savage than a Glenn Hoddle, but Robbie can play and I will take that onboard. Just look at his number of international caps Robbie has.

“It might be next season when we see the best of Vemund, but he could have his chance tonight.”

Lee has a tight hamstring and De Vos a groin tweak, but both will play, with Royle confirming that he will not be bringing in a loan striker before the game.

“Crewe could have been out of sight at our place, and we were fortunate to win,” added Royle.

Club captain Kenny Lunt returns for Crewe after suspension, and is likely to replace Lee Bell.

David Vaughan is struggling with a leg injury, while new Algerian signing Madjid Bougherra is set to be on the bench.

Gareth Taylor, on loan from Forest, missed the Wolves match with a cut eye. He may miss out again.


Crewe: Turnball, Otsemobor, Foster, Walker, Tonkin, Roberts, B Jones, Lunt, S Jones, Rodgers, Varney, McCready, Bougherra, Grant, Tomlinson, Taylor, Bell.

Ipswich Town: Supple, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Barron, Magilton, Juan, Richards, Westlake, Currie, Lee, McDonald, Peters, Price, Sito, Skard.

Referee: Mr T Leake (Lancashire).

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