Jim to pamper his players

JIM Magilton has promised to pamper his players after they give one big effort at the end of a gruelling week.The Blues squad will spend Sunday and Monday at the Whittelbury Hall hotel where they will enjoy special body treatments and spas to help them relax after their trips to Norwich and Sheffield in quick succession, followed by today's crunch Championship clash against Bristol City.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton has promised to pamper his players after they give one big effort at the end of a gruelling week.

The Blues squad will spend Sunday and Monday at the Whittelbury Hall hotel where they will enjoy special body treatments and spas to help them relax after their trips to Norwich and Sheffield in quick succession, followed by today's crunch Championship clash against Bristol City.

But first they must win what Magilton has described as their biggest game of the season.

After losing their unbeaten streak of six games at Sheffield United on Tuesday and with an international break looming, the Blues boss believes it is important for his side to regain momentum and force their way back into the top six.

But he also knows that third-placed Bristol City will offer them they toughest test so far at Portman Road.

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Magilton said: “This is a massive game for me in fact it is our biggest game of the season. We have come to the end of an unbeaten run by losing in midweek and now have a two-week break.

“We are playing against a side that have been outstanding this season. They have relished the opportunity to play at this level and grasped it with both hands.

“It is very much like the Colchester scenario last year where the players have not been fazed. They have come out and looked at this division and have been very good.

“They keep good possession of the ball and are a real threat. Gary Johnson' sides always play good football and are not up there under false pretences but very much on merit.

“Colchester last year had a real team ethos and Gary has kept the nucleus of his team as well and built on it.”

Magilton has called on the Blues crowd to get behind his side whose confidence at Fortress Portman Road is immense.

He said: “We are at home and we have got to take the game to them and stamp our authority.

“Our crowd will be big for us again. They do make a difference. Mick McCarthy noticed it.

“So we want our crowd to intimidate Bristol, in the nicest possible way.

“While I want to us to get off to a flying start and put them on the back foot we will have to be patient. Bristol don't panic they will wait and carry on playing the same way because they are resilient and they don't get the results they have without being a good team.

“They play in a similar way to us away from home with David Noble just behind Darren Byfield. The two wide men are quick, Ivan Sproule is someone I have watched a lot and he can catch pigeons.”

Magilton has a lot of respect for his opposite number, who started his career as a manager at non-league Newmarket Town but has since managed Cambridge United and Yeovil with national coach of Latvia squeezed in between.

Magilton said: “Gary is gradually climbing up the managerial ladder and for me Bristol are a massive club with great potential.

“He is doing a fantastic job and his credentials have got better and better because he produces very good footballing sides.”

derek.davis@archant.co.uk

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