Bound to feel weird for George

SEEING Jim Magilton in his old dug-out, doing the job he did so well for so long, will be bound to feel a bit weird for George Burley tomorrow, but most of all it makes him feel old.

By Derek Davis

SEEING Jim Magilton in his old dug-out, doing the job he did so well for so long, will be bound to feel a bit weird for George Burley tomorrow, but most of all it makes him feel old.

Three other managers from the Ipswich side that Burley managed are now professional bosses in their own right, with Geraint Williams also taking charge of a Championship team at Colchester and Tony Mowbray in the Scottish Premier League with Hibs.

Mike Salmon is reserve-team manager at Arsenal and added to that Micky Stockwell at Woodbridge and Jason Dozell progressing on the non-league circuit. There are a few old boys following in Burley's footsteps, as he did in Sir Bobby Robson's.

Like a proud father Burley watches on as the latest of his protégés takes up the managerial challenge, and while he is confident Magilton will do well, he voices a word of caution.

Burley said: “Jim is very enthusiastic and a real leader on the pitch and I'm sure he will be a good manager.

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“I progressed as a player, then player/coach, player/manager then manager. It is a progression and I doubt six months ago even Jim would have thought he would be a manger so quickly. But when these opportunities present themselves then you have to take them.

“You are then in the firing line and do your own thing. I'm sure the experience Jim had as a player will stand him in good stead as a manager.”

Burley stressed through that Magilton will need to assert his authority and that could men putting long tie friendships at arm's length.

He added: “Even as a coach you have to change the relationship you have had as a player with the other players in the dressing room.”

Burley doesn't see the clash between his Saints and the Blues at Portman Road as a personal battle of master and pupil but rather a matter of who can get the best out of what is on the pitch.

He said: “People will look at it as between Jim and me, but it is the players on the pitch who will win the game.

“You try to prepare the team properly, get them in good habits and is still in them your style of play and hope that wins you matches.”

While Burley has called on a number of players he has managed before, Magilton has looked at adding new faces to his very familiar dressing room.

Burley, with long-time loyal footballing companions Malcolm Webster and Simon Hunt, has added ex-Town stars like Jermaine Wright, Chris Makin and Kelvin Davis, and signed Gregorz Rasiak and Inigo Idiakez, who they had at Derby County and Rudi Skacel, who was with them at Hearts.

Burley said: “We have three ex-Ipswich players and Town have a lot of new faces in what will be an interesting match.”

Wright scored in Richard Naylor's testimonial match last Saturday, which finished 3-3, and Burley was delighted to have taken him from Leeds and also to secure the services of Makin, who last year won his third promotion to the Premiership after helping Reading to the top flight, as he did Sunderland and Oldham.

Burley said: “Chris Makin is a very versatile player and we did not have cover, especially at left-back.

“Steve Coppell was reluctant to let him go so for us to get him on a free transfer was a good deal for us.

“Jamma at 30 is experienced, he is still enthusiastic and fit and is a good passer, who has slotted into the squad.”

Although on the bench, Kelvin Davis missed out on the fun last weekend with a broken finger, which he insists will not keep him out of another return to Portman Road.

With four draws and a win in an unbeaten start Burley insists Saints can step up once his squad has fully integrated.

He said: “We have started off fairly well although we had a disappointing performance against Preston. All the games we have drawn we could have won and we are still undefeated. It is still early stages in terms of getting our form and the balance of our team right.”

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