Town on course for higher finish

IPSWICH Town are on course to finish higher in the Coca-Cola Championship than they did last season.The Blues, who brought in rookie manager Jim Magilton to replace the highly experienced Joe Royle last summer, are currently 15th, having accrued 51 points from 40 games.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town are on course to finish higher in the Coca-Cola Championship than they did last season.

The Blues, who brought in rookie manager Jim Magilton to replace the highly experienced Joe Royle last summer, are currently 15th, having accrued 51 points from 40 games.

At the corresponding stage last season they had 53 points - and were 11th in the table. But in Royle's last six games in charge Ipswich only managed three more points, care of a home win over Derby in their penultimate game.


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This saw Town end in 15th place, their worst finish for 40 years.

A good finish to the season - starting with victory against relegation-haunted Barnsley at Portman Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) - will surely see Magilton enjoy a better campaign than his predecessor last year. It is still not likely to have fans rushing for their cheque books to renew season tickets, but it can still be looked upon as a solid start by Magilton.

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“It would be timely to put on a good show tomorrow,” said the Town boss, who has been placed in the forefront of Ipswich's campaign to keep bums of seats at Portman Road in 2007/08. “A good win will show our supporters a taste of things to come. It will show that this club can do much better than it has shown this season.”

Ipswich are likely to keep an unchanged side after the 3-0 home win over Plymouth last Saturday, with Jason De Vos (foot), Gavin Williams (pelvis) and Owen Garvan (ankle) being nursed through training and Jonathan Walters (virus) and Fabian Wilnis (bruised knee) proving their fitness yesterday.

Striker Francis Jeffers is set to be named as a substitute, although he is likely to start against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Monday afternoon. Young striker Jordan Rhodes, 17, stays in the squad.

Alan Lee and Walters will continue their front-running partnership while Jaime Peters or Danny Haynes may be considered for a wide midfield start at the expense of either Gary Roberts or Matt Richards.

Nick Colgan, impressive against the Blues in Barnsley's 1-0 win at Oakwell earlier in the season, will regain his place in goal after David Lucas suffered a concussion during last weekend's 2-1 home defeat by Derby.

Untried youngster Kyle Letheren is due to be on the bench. Lewin Nyatanga returns after a ban.

Skipper Paul Reid will play despite losing teeth in a clash with former Town loanee Jon Macken, but striker Martin Devaney is suspended.

Tykes manager Simon Davey is confident his team can escape relegation. He said: “We have six games remaining and I am more than confident we will be in the same position - out of the bottom three - come May 6.”

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