Magilton's Premiership dilemma

WINNING promotion with Ipswich could bring down the curtain on skipper Jim Magilton's career at the club.The midfield ace, who has made more appearances than any of his Portman Road colleagues, admitted: “The Premiership is a tough league - and it's a young man's league.

WINNING promotion with Ipswich could bring down the curtain on skipper Jim Magilton's career at the club.

The midfield ace, who has made more appearances than any of his Portman Road colleagues, admitted: “The Premiership is a tough league - and it's a young man's league.

“I don't think I could imagine myself playing 30-odd games in the Premier League at my age.”

Magilton, who will be 36 by the time the 2005-2006 campaign gets under way, is one of many players whose contract situations will be under review in the new year.

Manager Joe Royle has already stated that he is not writing off the former Northern Ireland international for next season, while the player himself has made it clear he wants to keep going as long as possible. Royle said today: “Jim has a great appetite for the game. He is a fit man and while he's certainly not slow, he has never been reliant on pace.

“When the time is right I will sit down with Jim and discuss where we go from here.

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“We are not in a position to make decisions on any players now. It will be towards the end of the season, when we have an idea where we are going.”

Magilton has been a key member of the Town squad since arriving at Portman Road, initially on loan, from Sheffield Wednesday, early in 1999.

His career has been revived under Royle after previous boss George Burley agreed he could leave on a free transfer.

Magilton added: “I will sit down at the end of the season and discuss my next move. There's no need to rush into anything.

“I will be totally realistic and honest as to whether I feel I could contribute something.

“I will be guided by the people who know me best, the coaching and fitness staff.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to win promotion. We have put ourselves in a great position.

“I don't like to look too far ahead and I don't want to presume I'm always going to be a fixture here.

“My one aim right now is to get us back in the Premiership. After that, I don't know. That's what I'll sit down and discuss with the manager.”

If Magilton feels a season at Premiership level is beyond him, he would find himself in demand by other Championship clubs.

He could also be offered a coaching role at Portman Road, where he has already gained some valuable experience at academy level.

Meanwhile, injured Tommy Miller (elbow) and Dean Bowditch (foot) remain optimistic of winning their fitness battles before the weekend.

Royle said: “They are our only two doubts for the game against Brighton on Saturday.”

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