Show your derby desire - skipper Jim

IPSWICH Town captain Jim Magilton today urged the Blues: "Show your derby desire!"But Magilton admitted: "We must have the same desire to win all our remaining 23 league matches as we do to beat Norwich City.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town captain Jim Magilton today urged the Blues: "Show your derby desire!"

But Magilton admitted: "We must have the same desire to win all our remaining 23 league matches as we do to beat Norwich City."

The 34-year-old leads the Blues for the first time in an East Anglian derby – and he knows how important tomorrow's result at Portman Road will be.

"It is crucial to our hopes of a Premiership place next season and it is uppermost in the minds of our

supporters," said Magilton.

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"We know it will be a special occasion, and we are all looking forward to it

confident in our ability to get a result.

"This has been a big week for us all and it is a huge weekend. If we want to gain promotion next May then every game between now and then must be tackled with the same desire."

Magilton knows that Town must be at their Sunday best to gain three points from a Canaries side that is one place above them in the Nationwide League First Division table. Norwich's record at Portman is impressive in recent

seasons, with a late Pablo Counago goal giving Ipswich a home point against the old enemy last season for the first time in three campaigns.

"Norwich normally come to Suffolk and shut up shop, looking to counter attack," added Magilton. "They have been near the top of the table all season and are in good spirits.

"We have risen to the top after a poor start, and this year's derby has more emphasis because of the high placings of both sides.

"We traditionally enjoy a good Christmas-time points haul, and in fourth place we are perfectly poised to make a big impact on the remainder of the season.

"It will be a nerve-racking occasion and no one will want to make any mistakes. What might it tip it our way is that we now have experience on the bench, with players champing at the bit to show what they can do.

"Nigel Worthington has been quoted as saying that his squad is not that big, although he has made moves into the transfer market over the last couple of weeks.

"A number of our players will be making their East Anglian derby debuts, and everybody in the squad wants to play in this one."

Magilton is positive about tomorrow's game that kicks-off at noon, but he feels Town fans should not have their Christmas spoiled if the result does not go Ipswich's way.

"If we lose – and we do not intend do – it will not be the end of the world," said Magilton, who has been playing some of the best football of his career.

"There is still half the games to play and we are good enough to come back and stay very much in the promotion race.

"We also have West Ham and Crystal Palace over the holiday period. Christmas is not always an easy time for footballers although we have no reason to complain.

"We must knuckle down over the next eight days and push Ipswich into an even better position – and at the same time give our fans a big festive boost with three points against Norwich."

Town manager Joe Royle has a squad of 18 to choose from with Richard Naylor returning to the squad after injury and fighting for a place in the heart of the defence with Georges Santos and John McGreal.

"Richard has every right to expect to return," said Royle, who must decide whether to recall Alan Mahon to the starting line-up at the expense of young Ian Westlake on the left side of midfield.

And up front, Pablo Counago is in line to come in at the expense of either Shefki Kuqi or Darren Bent.

Tommy Miller has had four wisdom teeth removed and trained normally yesterday along with the rest of the Ipswich senior squad apart from long-term injured Chris Makin and Drissa Diallo plus striker Alun Armstrong, who has a gashed leg.

"Our fans have a big role to play, and we know we have the players to complete the job," said Royle. "The lads have been noisy and lively in training this week, which is always a good sign.

"Norwich will be hard to beat, but we are in the mood."


IPSWICH: Davis, Wilnis, Naylor, Santos, Richards, Wright, Magilton, Bart-Williams, Mahon, Kuqi, Bent, Counago, McGreal, Miller, Westlake, Bowditch, Reuser, Abbey.

NORWICH: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Henderson, Mulryne, Holt, McVeigh, Svensson, McKenzie, Brennan, Shackell, Francis, Roberts, Jarvis, Shackell, Rivers, Crichton.

Referee: Andy Kaye (Wakefield).