Doors open for pre-season

IPSWICH Town are throwing their doors open to the fans this pre-season.Blues boss Jim Magilton revealed to the EADT how he plans to do things differently this summer to ensure his players start the season in full flow.

By Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town are throwing their doors open to the fans this pre-season.

Blues boss Jim Magilton revealed to the EADT how he plans to do things differently this summer to ensure his players start the season in full flow.

This includes:


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The players coming back in June, not July, as in previous years.

No pre-season tour abroad.

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Blues fans being allowed to watch the team train during a community day at Portman Road.

Local sides being invited to play practice games as well as normal friendlies.

Town plan to play two showcase games against quality opposition.

The squad being put through their paces during a week-long fitness session at Loughborough University.

Although all the dates and games have yet to be arranged, Town will also play Burton Albion on July 10 and have pencilled in a match in the Belfast area into their schedule.

Magilton feels his side did not have the best preparation last summer but is determined to do things his way this time.

He said: “I want us to play a lot of football and get a lot of games under the belts so we hit the first game of the season running.

“I felt we were short last summer and we didn't have all the group of players getting a good pre-season.

“This time I want a group of 23 players ready to go on the opening day.”

Instead of the normal break until the first week of July, when players come back from their holidays and are weighed and measured before starting sweat sessions, the Blues squad will report back in mid-June for a few days. They will then be given a few days off before coming back again and going on an intensive physical fitness course. But it won't be all running, as Magilton intends to spend more time on the practice pitch and playing more games.

He said: “The lads will have five- and-a-half weeks off and be back for three or four days. They will get some days off and then go to Loughborough for a week's intensive training, with games in between.

“We will have training sessions against local sides where we will play a lot of different formations and try to be novel in our approach.”

Although Town fans on the continent will not get a chance to see their heroes, Magilton is keen to involve supporters whenever he can, with the Northern Ireland branch likely to get a rare visit to their patch for a game. He said: “We will not go abroad because I feel it can be counter productive. If we go away, it will be in the British Isles against teams that will give us a good game.

“We will have an open day where supporters can come and watch a practice game, look around the ground behind the scenes and meet players. We will also get a couple of big games organised against top- class opposition prior to the big kick-off. We have had a lot of offers, so it is a case of finalising games.”

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