Magilton welcomes tough start

IPSWICH Town boss, Jim Magilton, welcomed the tough start to the new season following yesterday's fixture list announcement.Town kick-off their 2008-09 campaign at home to Preston on August 9, before travelling to Burnley a week later.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH Town boss, Jim Magilton, welcomed the tough start to the new season following yesterday's fixture list announcement.

Town kick-off their 2008-09 campaign at home to Preston on August 9, before travelling to Burnley a week later. A home fixture against Wolves follows, before a trip to beaten play-off semi-finalists Watford concludes the first month of the new season.

“I want us to hit the ground running. A good start to the season is of massive importance,” explained Magilton.

“Pre-season is all about getting the shape and structure of the team in place, but it all starts at 3pm against Preston. We have a tough start, with games against the likes of Wolves, Watford, Reading and Southampton to follow, but you might as well get these games over early on.

“You can't really ask more than to get a home game up first,” added Magilton.

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The weight of expectancy lies firmly on Magilton's shoulders to build upon last season's eighth place finish and take the Suffolk club back into the Premier League following the investment of Marcus Evans' millions.

The fiercely fought East Anglian derbies against Norwich will come on December 6 (away) and April 18 (home), the latter fixture coming just three games before the end of the season.

Other key dates see Ipswich host newly relegated Birmingham on Boxing Day, while the final two games of the season come against Cardiff (away) and Coventry (home) respectively.

Kevin Mitchell, who last season wrote the fans' column Blue Army in the Green'Un, said: “Fans always look forward to the fixture list being announced. It kicks everything off and means we can start planning our away trips, especially the long hauls in midweek.

“It's always nice to have a home game to start and finish with because, if we do get promoted, we can finish with a party.

“Last season was another step in the right direction and hopefully we can build further on that. I personally think that Jim is quite shrewd in the transfer market and, if he does buy right, we'll have a good chance of promotion.

“It's not an east start, but I don't think there are any easy games in this division. If we have got ambitions of being promoted, you have got to say that these are games that we should be looking to win.

“On our day we are as good as anyone in this division as was shown with our home form last season. If we can recreate that and sort out the away form then it will be job done.

“It's a fine line between success and failure but we have got to cross it now.”