Lessons learned from Town's past

THE wonderful thing about history is the lessons learned.

Derek Davis

THE wonderful thing about history is the lessons learned.

Jim Magilton goes to Nottingham Forest tonight with many fans on his back and others supporting him.

There are echoes of almost six years ago when George Burley was in a similar position going to Grimsby.

Forest have just five points, like the Mariners in October 2002, and are bottom of the Championship while the City Ground, like Blundell Park, on a dank Tuesday night, is not the easiest of places to go when you need a result.

Magilton's Blues, like Burley's Town back then, are unexpectedly at the wrong end of the table.

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Back then Town had amassed a dozen points after ten games following a 3-0 reversal at Grimsby and were in 19th position.

Today Ipswich are in 18th place with 13 points after 11 games and defeat against Colin Calderwood's basement battlers will have many people calling for the manager's head, just as disgruntled Town supporters wanted Burley out even before the 3-0 loss at Grimsby.

Two days later the I found out Burley had been sacked and on the Friday morning it was confirmed.

Joe Royle took over and the team, with virtually the same players, finished seventh place in the table.

But that is where the similarities end, because even if Town fail to beat Forest tonight it is extremely unlikely new owner Marcus Evans will sack Magilton - despite fans' pressure.

In fact, the club continue to insist Magilton's job is safe until the end of the season as chief executive Derek Bowden first revealed back in early September.

That stance may disappoint a swathe of Town supporters, but Magilton is convinced he is heading in the right direction with this squad and has the board's backing.

Magilton said: “I know where we are heading and I know that we are getting better. I know these lads will stick together and get results - it is only a matter of time.

“We have quality and I know at times we have not been great, yet at other times we have been very good, so we need that consistency.”

Forest have managed just one win in 11 games since winning promotion last year and have conceded 20 goals so if Town have promotion aspirations it is a place they should take all three points.

Magilton said: “Our lads will love going there. It is a fantastic stadium steeped in tradition playing on a big open pitch. We enjoy passing the ball and we will have to impose ourselves.”

Tonight's encounter is followed by a tortuous journey to Plymouth, but again Magilton is confident his team can take maximum points and that would change many perceptions.

He said: “We go into these two games confident we can win and if we do then the mood will lighten and everyone will become optimistic again.

Magilton is thinking about bringing in Veliche Sumulikoski, Alex Bruce, Danny Haynes, Owen Garvan and Shane Supple, to the starting XI to face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground tomorrow.

They could replace Iván Campo, Moritz Volz or Richard Naylor, Alan Quinn, Jon Walters and Richard Wright.

Magilton revealed Danny Haynes almost made the subs bench on Saturday after Kevin Lisbie 'nipped' a knee during the warm-up and comes into his thinking for the game at Forest, along with others.

Magilton said: “I would like to be consistent in my selection while also being aware that one or two had below par games but I maybe give people the benefit of the doubt.

“I may give Campo a rest. Alex Bruce has done well and is breathing down people's necks. He has been unfortunate to be left out. Moritz Volz didn't defend particularly well at times on Saturday, but he gives us a real threat going forward so it is about the balance.

“Richard Wright is great lad and a great character who has come through tough times before, but every mistake he makes is ending up in the back of the net.

“He knows in Shane he has a good back up and although he has not played yet I know that if selected he would not let me down.”

On reflection Magilton felt Town did better than he first thought against Swansea, but didn't take advantage.

He added: “Jon Walters and Alan Quinn did not help us at times, but we got away with it with a great ball, great quality and a good goal but we didn't go on and finish them off.”

Norris and Quinn who both took knocks against Swansea have both been passed fit and have travelled with the squad.

Ipswich Town: Supple, R Wright, D Wright, Volz, Bruce, Balkestein, Naylor, McAuley, Shumulikoski, Campo, Haynes, Miller, Garvan, Quinn, Walters, Rhodes, Counago, Lisbie, Stead.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Smith, Chambers, Morgan, Wilson, Lynch, Anderson, Cohen, Fletcher, McCleary, Tyson, Cole, Bennett, Thornhill, Davies, McGugan, Breckin, Martin, Perch.