Bruce poised to be first century-maker

ALEX Bruce will this evening become the first Ipswich Town player to make a century of appearances under Jim Magilton's management.

Elvin King

ALEX Bruce will this evening become the first Ipswich Town player to make a century of appearances under Jim Magilton's management.

The 24-year-old defender was Magilton's first signing in the summer of 2006 and has been a regular in the manager's squad ever since.

Bruce is currently in dispute with the Blues having turned down the offer of a new two-year deal and is at liberty to talk to other clubs with his Portman Road contract running out at the end of June.

He wants to stay, and the indications are that he will be doing all he can in the remaining months of the season to do enough to earn an improved offer by the summer.

Despite turning his back on a chance to confirm his future with Ipswich, Bruce remains a favourite with supporters.

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And he has found his scoring touch in recent weeks, netting his first two goals for the club including Saturday's equaliser in front of 6,000 ecstatic Blues fans in the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.

Bruce is expected to figure at the back as Ipswich return to the bread and butter of the Coca-Cola Championship with a trip to Oakwell to face unfashionable Barnsley.

In the 132 games in which Magilton has been in charge he has used 55 players and given 31 debuts.

If Ipswich win tonight, it will be the first time for three years that they have won three consecutive away league games.

That run, under the management of Joe Royle, saw Town win 2-0 at Southampton on January 21 2006 (Alan Lee 2), 2-1 at Norwich City on February 5 2006 (Jimmy Juan and Danny Haynes) and then 2-0 at Crewe on February 14 2006 (Lee, Dean McDonald).

Alex Bruce Ipswich Town record

League: 87 (plus 2 sub) - 1 goal.

FA Cup: 6 - 1 goal.

League Cup: 4.

Total: 97 (2 subs) - 2 goals.

Top 10 appearances under Jim Magilton's management

Alex Bruce 99, Owen Garvan 98, Danny Haynes 97, Alan Lee 95, Jason De Vos 88, Jonathan Walters 88, David Wright 85, Dan Harding 79, Pablo Counago 74, Tommy Miller 63.

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