Defender remains priority for Magilton

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton's priority remains a defender, although it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will be Leicester City's Gareth McAuley.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton's priority remains a defender, although it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will be Leicester City's Gareth McAuley.

The Blues boss plans to bolster his squad with a loan signing or two, and he sees his back four as the position he wants to strengthen to aid his promotion push to the Premier League.

Town made two bids to sign 28-year Northern Ireland international McAuley in the January transfer window including a 'big' bid this time last week.


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But Leicester turned this down with Foxes manager Ian Holloway stressing McAuley would be staying at the Walkers Stadium.

The player has been offered an improved contract, and is expected to remain a regular in the Leicester side for the rest of the season.

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Magilton, who is spending today in his native Belfast, has other defenders in mind and he will be working on this when loan deals become operative again on Friday.

One player who Magilton has no plans to bring to Portman Road - not at the moment anyway - is Portsmouth's England striker David Nugent.

The former Preston player, who always seems to score against Ipswich, has just undergone a hernia operation and will be out for up to a month.

If he became available, Magilton could well show some interest and with the Marcus Evans money now invested at Portman Road meeting Nugent's wages would not necessarily be a problem.

Nugent is a proven scorer at Championship level, but at the moment Magilton's thoughts are centred more on his back line.

Magilton is commentating for BBC television on a Northern Ireland game tonight, and this morning the man who is a big celebrity in his home city was visiting the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

He is calling on Blues fans to help gain three points against high-flying Watford at Portman Road on Saturday.

“Watford are a powerful side and it is a big game for us,” said Magilton. “If we can get a win it takes us one step closer to where we want to be.

“Our fans can play their part. When we have a big crowd and they really get behind the players, Portman Road can be a really difficult ground for opposition.

“Our supporters have played their part in our home form this season and need them at full voice on Saturday.”

Town reserves will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of the Pontin's Holidays Combination with a win at Grays tonight. Striker Dean Bowditch misses the game because of a groin niggle.

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