Rookie bosses battle for manager award
ROOKIE Ipswich boss Jim Magilton is on course to capture a Manager of the Month award.And in a strange twist, his main rival for the September accolade is another newcomer to the role - Sunderland chief Roy Keane.
By Mel Henderson
ROOKIE Ipswich boss Jim Magilton is on course to capture a Manager of the Month award.
And in a strange twist, his main rival for the September accolade is another newcomer to the role - Sunderland chief Roy Keane.
Both bosses go into tomorrow's clash at Portman Road looking to extend their unbeaten runs and move closer to claiming personal glory.
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They have identical records this month - two wins and a draw - and their rivalry is an interesting side issue to a game set to attract a bumper crowd.
Other teams who have taken seven points from three games in the Championship this month include Birmingham, Preston and Colchester.
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Sunderland boss Keane has set his sights on capturing a top-six slot as soon as possible and it could even be this weekend with the right combination of results up and down the country.
They have climbed from the foot of the Championship, having lost their first four games of the season, with wins over West Brom, Derby and Leeds, followed by last weekend's home draw with Leicester.
Black Cats' boss Keane said: “When you look at the league table, if we can get two or three victories together then we will be up near the top.
“Equally, if the teams behind us do well and we don't, then they will go above us because it is very close at the moment.
“That's the beauty of the league. There are so many teams that can get into the top six and get into the play-offs - but the thing is, getting that run of results you need.”
Tomorrow's teams have parallel records, taking seven points from their last three games, but Town's unbeaten run of five is one better than that of Sunderland.
Keane added: “Ipswich made a poor start but in the last few weeks Jim (Magilton) has done very well and has turned things round.
“I have played at Ipswich many times and they try to play football the right way, so it should be a good game tomorrow.”
Midfielder Simon Walton who is nursing shin, ankle and hamstring problems, is almost certainly ruled out of tomorrow's game.
Magilton is confident that Fabian Wilnis (thigh), will be fit but the fitness of Gavin Williams (groin), will be assessed in the morning and Sylvain Legwinski has a hamstring problem that could rule him out.
Keane, meanwhile, is hoping to have Stanislav Varga, Kenny Cunningham and striker Chris Brown available, despite them missing training this week.
Jon Stead is battling to shake off his thigh injury, while David Connolly (thigh), Stephen Elliott (ankle), Stephen Wright (ankle), Daryl Murphy (hamstring) and Steve Caldwell (knee ligaments) are all ruled out.
Keane, who is set to give Dwight Yorke his first start, added: “We still have injuries, but every team has that and we have to get on with it.”
IPSWICH: Price, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Harding, Williams, Walton, Legwinski, Noble, Lee, Macken, Sito, Currie, Bowditch, Clarke, Haynes, Brittain and Supple.
SUNDERLAND: Alnwick, N Collins, Cunningham, Varga, R Elliott, L Miller, Whitehead, Kavanagh, Wallace, Yorke, Brown, Murphy, S Elliott, Smith, D Collins, Leadbitter, Hysen and Ward.
Referee: Mike Russell (Herts).