Jim tells team: Fight for your lives

JIM Magilton is still targeting a top six finish and has warned his players they are fighting for their lives.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton is still targeting a top six finish and has warned his players they are fighting for their lives.

After being held to a goalless draw at home by Watford, who have the second worst defensive record in the Championship, Town are still stuck in 10th place with six games left to play, and seven points behind Cardiff who have three games in hand.


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Their next opponents are Sheffield United who are nine points clear with two games in hand and while is simple mathematical terms Town could win enough points to take the play-offs, if other teams drop more than half their remaining points, the laws of probability weigh heavily against the Blues.

Magilton has warned his players to not start thinking about the beach just yet with their futures in doubt.

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He said: “I can't concede the top six is not still there for us. I won't concede that until it is mathematically impossible. It won't affect how we go about our business because some of then are playing for their lives.

Magilton did concede it was getting harder to close the gap especially after dropping more points at home take their recent run to just one win in six games.

He said: “The play-offs are getting further and further away. We are not going to keep getting these sorts of opportunities but I won't let the season peter out and I won't allow anyone else to do that either.”

Magilton was less than happy with some aspects of his team's play, especially in the first half against Watford but did praise their work rate.

He said: “We did not have a real desire to stick the ball in the net. I can't fault their effort as they ran their socks off.

“Getting in front raises confidence and for whatever reason at home we have not had that.

“Pablo Counago and Jon Stead had enough opportunities to win the game but lacked that final bit of quality and the keeper has made an outstanding save from Alan Quinn.”

While Alex Bruce, Veliche Shumulikoski, Gareth McAuley and Owen Garvan away on international duty the rest of the squad will be given most of this week off before preparing next week to take on the Blades.

Magilton said: “We have two weeks off to recover then we will be right back at it.

“It gives us an opportunity to work on what we have done well and what we haven't. Sheffield United is the next target.”

Gio dos Santos was due to hook up with Sven-Goran Eriksson's Mexico squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rico and Honduras and may still have to travel despite limping out against the Hornets with a groin strain after 26 minutes.

David Wright, who was being watched by Scotland boss George Burley, suffered a recurring hamstring problem and Tommy Miller will need treatment this week on a dead leg after coming off in the second half.

Luciano Civelli has been warned he could be out until Christmas with knee ligament damage and Jon Walters hopes to return by the season end after rupturing ankle ligaments.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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