Jim's rallying call to fans

Steady boys, steady.Blues boss Jim Magilton has urged his players and Blues supporters to hold their nerve as Ipswich Town continue to push for promotion.

Derek Davis

Steady boys, steady.

Blues boss Jim Magilton has urged his players and Blues supporters to hold their nerve as Ipswich Town continue to push for promotion.

With today's game with Cardiff postponed until April 9th due to their FA cup involvement, Ipswich are helpless to do anything about the possible shift of places but Barnsley away on Tuesday represents the beginning of their new ten-match season.

Although the Blues could slip to tenth place in the Championship today if other results go against them, Magilton is bullish about Town's chances but has called for better backing.

Magilton said: “There are now ten games left, ten cup finals in what could be a fantastic year for this football club.

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“Of course the pressure is on but it's about us all keeping our nerve and I include the supporters in that as well.

“Sir Alex Ferguson calls it squeaky bum time. Well I'll go along with that.

“It's been tight at the top all season and I expect it to stay that way right to the end but I'm confident we can make it and that fans will have a big part to play in that.

“They have been magnificent all season - loud and proud and I want them to be even louder and even prouder over the last ten games. The support of our fans could be pivotal to our season. We need them now more than ever before.”

Although an automatic top two spot looks beyond Town, they are still tantalisingly close to at least a play-off finish which would represent a great improvement on their past two seasons when they finished 15th and 14th.

Even missing out and finishing in the top ten would be seen by the board as improvement and ensure Magilton stays as manager promotion a must next season.

Given the improvement in the team, and being seventh in the table and just one league defeat at home all season, Magilton is amazed at the negativity being shown and made an impassioned plea for people to get behind the team.

He said: “I know there have been some negative comments flying around but I want people to remember how far we have come in such a short space of time.

“Yes we weren't at our best against Sheffield United on Tuesday but when I spoke to the Sheffield people after the game, they were treating it as a fantastic result at fortress Portman Road.

“We are talking about a team that was playing Premier League football last year, a team that beat Arsenal, a team with an England international up front who cost £4 last summer, with million pound players on their bench.

“And because we didn't beat them and have dropped to seventh, it's meant to be doom and gloom around our place.

“Well it's not all doom and gloom at all. I'm immensely proud of what my players have achieved this season, every one of them. I'm their biggest critic, make no mistake about that - they will tell you that.”

“But we have made massive strides forward this season and I'm very proud of what we have achieved.”

The Blues players went to Five Lakes, hotel, golf and country club on Thursday as part of their preparations for Tuesday's game at Barnsley but it was more about relaxing the mind than physical exertions.

Magilton dismissed the notion that his players were jaded but knows from experience how psychologically wearing this time of the season can be.

He said: “Physically we had our best set of stats this season against Sheffield United. We clocked up more miles than any other game we played this year so physical fitness is not a problem.

“But at this stage of the season, the business end, with 10 games to go, it's the mental fatigue that becomes the issue.

“Players are under pressure from themselves to succeed, from me to succeed and from the supporters to succeed and that can have a draining effect. After all, they know the prize that is at stake, a place in the Premier League.

“I've been there as a player. I know how tough it can be. That's why I know how important it is for everyone around the team and the club to be pulling in the same direction.”

Magilton is still working on bringing in at least two new players on loan with a striker and centre half being sought.

Gary Roberts has returned from Crewe and will find out on Monday if he will be allowed to return or stay at Portman Road with Alan Quinn's ankle still a slight concern.