Game could be Jim's last for Town

IT could to be farewell to a legend at Selhurst Park tomorrow if Blues skipper Jim Magilton plays his 311th and last game for Ipswich Town.The Ulsterman has been approached by League Two strugglers Oxford United about becoming player-coach under new boss Darren Patterson but last night told the EADT that he will put off any decision about leaving the Blues until after Town's Championship clash at Crystal Palace.

By Derek Davis

IT could to be farewell to a legend at Selhurst Park tomorrow if Blues skipper Jim Magilton plays his 311th and last game for Ipswich Town.

The Ulsterman has been approached by League Two strugglers Oxford United about becoming player-coach under new boss Darren Patterson but last night told the EADT that he will put off any decision about leaving the Blues until after Town's Championship clash at Crystal Palace.

The emergency loan transfer window closes next Thursday and Magilton would need to sign for any new club before then in order for him to carry on playing.

Town manager Joe Royle has said he will not stand in Magilton's way but would be equally happy if the Irishman stayed at Portman Road until his contract runs out in the summer.

Magilton said last night: “Nothing has been agreed or even discussed in any great detail. I have not made my mind up about anything and even if something were to happen, nothing will before our game at Crystal Palace.”

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Although not a regular starter for Ipswich any more, the popular Magilton is a huge influence in the Town dressing room and would be sorely missed.

A snip at £682,500 from Sheffield Wednesday, Magilton was part of the promotion-winning Blues side and figured largely as Ipswich finished fifth in the Premiership and qualified for Europe.

Joe Royle made him skipper of the side in 2003 and Magilton passed the 300-appearance mark for Town last year.

The 36-year-old is also a massive favourite at Oxford where he played 173 games, all as a starter, and scored 42 goals in his three-and-a-half years at the Manor Ground.

An Oxford source said last night: “The fans here really want him. It would be a massive coup for this club if we were to secure Jim Magilton. He is a huge favourite here after what he did as a player and would give the place a big lift.”

Even if he does not choose to join Oxford, there is a chance he will accept another offer he has received if personal terms can be agreed, with Oldham also expressing an interest.

Oxford have been beset by off-field problems with a bitter battle still raging over control of the club.

Almost 200 angry supporters stormed into the main entrance of the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday night before their 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers. The fans charged into a banqueting suite where directors, sponsors and guests, including Ron Atkinson, were dining and threw posters demanding 'Kassam out'.

The supporters are unhappy at the way owner Kiroz Kassam is running the club and the way a takeover bid by businessman Nick Merry was thwarted.

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