Duo's presence will lift Town - Jim

JIM Magilton is convinced that the presence of Shefki Kuqi and Velice Sumulikoski in his Ipswich Town squad will give them the lift they need to beat Preston in the Coca-Cola Championship at Deepdale tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Elvin King

JIM Magilton is convinced that the presence of Shefki Kuqi and Velice Sumulikoski in his Ipswich Town squad will give them the lift they need to beat Preston in the Coca-Cola Championship at Deepdale tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Both striker Kuqi and midfielder Sumulikoski are fit enough to be included in the Blues manager's squad for the trip to Lancashire where Ipswich need three points to stay in the hunt for a top-six finish.

Magilton said: “A victory tomorrow will keep us in the hunt and we must deal with this first.

“Both Shefki and Shumi are experienced players and their presence around the hotel and on the pitch will give us a timely boost.

“We have an opportunity to experience the play-offs, and if any player asked me my thoughts on my appearance at Wembley for Ipswich in 2000 it would take me three days to explain all the thrills.

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“There will be a big pain if we don't move up from eighth place and we hope it doesn't happen. But at the moment we must ensure it doesn't happen tomorrow by beating Preston.”

Magilton says that whatever happens the Ipswich season will go right down to the last programmed match against Hull City at home on Sunday week.

The manager added: “There will be no let up at this club and we will keep going forward regardless of the result tomorrow.

“I have not made up my mind about my final 11 yet and at Wolverhampton last Saturday we had a foothold in the game for the 90 minutes and played well, deserving a draw, but we need to be more clinical.

“Every game could be tagged a must-win game, but tomorrow's certainly is.”

Magilton says that he is hoping it will be third time lucky for Kuqi after the striker suffered hamstring problems in his two matches since his return to Portman Road on loan from Crystal Palace.

Magilton said: “He has been working hard in training and is fine. He has the confidence and the enthusiasm and along with Shumi will add a lot to our squad.”

Sumulikoski is a surprise addition having been ruled out for the season a couple of weeks ago.

A specialist has this week said that there will be no harm for the Macedonian International by playing on having been suffering from a shin injury that was thought to be a damaged artery.

Magilton said: “We have been told there will be no risk so Shumi will be in the squad and there will be a review of his situation at the end of the season. We have taken the best medical advice and are pleased to have him back available to us.

“Preston will be tough opponents at a ground where Ipswich have not got a very good record but I am not concentrating on them having kept the lid on things as far as the players are concerned this week and just concentrating on playing well enough to win the match.”

Ipswich can still overtake fourth-placed Bristol City as well as fifth-placed Watford and sixth-placed Crystal Palace and also Wolves who are just above them in seventh position.

But it will take six points for them to do this and in effect Town's season now boils down to their last two matches.