Is Gorman the man to steady the ship?

JIM Magilton can expect a rough ride from a section of Ipswich Town followers at tomorrow night's home Coca-Cola Championship game against Nottingham Forest.

Elvin King

JIM Magilton can expect a rough ride from a section of Ipswich Town followers at tomorrow night's home Coca-Cola Championship game against Nottingham Forest.

A protest is planned, but where is any suitable successor to be found? Would any change guarantee an improvement?

John Gorman's name would come into the frame if Magilton was to be removed - or resigned - before the season ends.

Club owner Marcus Evans is publicly still backing his manager and is not expected back at the club for a month.

Whether Gorman's influence - he arrived as assistant manager soon after the 1-0 victory at Derby County just after Christmas - helped Magilton to go close to the January manager of the month award is conjecture.

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Magilton has been seeking someone with Gorman's experience to assist him ever since he took over the Portman Road hot-seat in June 2006.

Gorman's affection for the club after his brief stint as previous Town boss George Burley's number two, and his belief in Magilton as a manager, made him turn his back on a comfortable coaching position with Glenn Hoddle in Spain.

While Gorman has proved a big plus - not least taking much of the media responsibility away from Magilton - the Blues have yet to win a home league game since his arrival.

And if he did take over the reins it would only be as a stop-gap measure as he wouldn't want the job full time.

Magilton has improved Ipswich's league position year on year, sorted out a continually leaky defence and slowly but surely begun to shape a side in his image.

Evans feels that his manager has the potential and desire to manage successfully for years to come.

If Magilton went it would not just be his livelihood that would cease. Many others - including Gorman - would be at grave risk as well.

But confidence is waning among fans that Magilton has what it takes to provide an exciting brand of football - let alone lift the club into the Premier League.

Saturday's result virtually condemned the Blues to another season of Championship football. The middle of February, and this season is over - finished.

All this is a painful let-down after the high expectations placed on this season following the provision - and spending - of �12million of Evans' hard-earned cash to bolster the first- team squad.

Richard Moss, the outspoken Town follower who has been carrying his 'Magilton Out' banner around grounds with precious little support for a couple of months now, may well have a considerable number on his side tomorrow night.

It would still be a small minority, but John Duncan was ousted after a pitch sit-in by a handful of fans after a game against Hull City.

Be warned Town fans, and take heed from Evans, who knows what it takes to reach the top.

Several rough edges have still to be removed before Magilton completes his managerial education, but let's leave his future to be decided by a man who has the biggest vested interest in him becoming a success.

Norwich, Southampton and Charlton are just three Championship clubs who have changed managers this season - none as successful as Magilton - and it is currently doing them little good.