Magilton may rotate team for Derby game

JIM Magilton may turn tinkerman again tomorrow as he plots the downfall of Derby County.

Derek Davis

JIM Magilton may turn tinkerman again tomorrow as he plots the downfall of Derby County.

Although Magilton has pretty much settled on a best side, with wins over Plymouth, QPR and Blackpool starting with the same team, he was forced into a change at Doncaster and will be again against the Rams.

With Moritz Volz suspended after picking up five bookings, a different right-back is required.

Who plays there could depend on Gareth McAuley, who missed the loss at the Keepmoat after tweaking a hamstring. He has been in light training and Magilton will assess his fitness after training today.

If he is ruled out then Alex Bruce will keep his place alongside Richard Naylor, after winning his second full cap for the Republic of Ireland, although Pim Balkestein is pushing for a start.

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David Wright is likely to move across to right back, with Ben Thatcher returning to left back after recovering from a torn thigh muscle.

Midfield is also an interesting conundrum for the Town boss.

He has been known to give anchorman Veliche Shumulikoski a rest after international duty and after playing 90 minutes against Montenegro on Wednesday and with Birmingham City on Tuesday, the Macedonian could well start on the bench tomorrow.

That could pave the way for Tommy Miller to come back and partner Owen Garvan, unless Magilton prefers to push David Norris into the middle.

He has the choice then of playing either Darren Ambrose or Jon Walters on the right side with Alan Quinn on the left.

Alternatively the on-loan Ambrose could replace Quinn who, along with Walters, was less than impressed at being substituted at Doncaster.

Magilton also has to decide whether to stick with the misfiring Kevin Lisbie up front or replace him with Jon Stead who has banged in four goals in six games at Portman road.

If Walters goes back to what looks his best position wide right that would mean Stead and Counago being able to start together after both finished the game at Doncaster so impressively, even if they didn't find the net.

So, while change is inevitable, Magilton has plenty of options from a competitive squad that will be looking to make it seven consecutive home games without defeat against a Derby side that despite their recent good run, struggle away.

Both teams have lost just twice in 13 league games and have identical win, loss and draw records, and goals scored with just goals conceded giving Town the edge as they sit in 11th, one place ahead of Derby.