Naylor's grit can boost Town hopes

RICHARD Naylor's Yorkshire grit can help consolidate Ipswich Town's play-off hopes against Sheffield United at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).Blues boss Jim Magilton today revealed that he is still actively seeking a central defensive loan addition to boost his side's chances of gaining promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship.

Elvin King

RICHARD Naylor's Yorkshire grit can help consolidate Ipswich Town's play-off hopes against Sheffield United at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

Blues boss Jim Magilton today revealed that he is still actively seeking a central defensive loan addition to boost his side's chances of gaining promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship.

Naylor, 30, will be making his 300th league appearance for Ipswich, and the Leeds-born player has helped make the back four look much more solid in his four games back after a 12-month injury absence.

“Richard has done very well after recovering from a slipped disk in his neck,” said Magilton.

“He is like having a new player, but we could still do with extra defensive strength.

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“We have identified our target, but a signing has not materialised yet as his current club has not made him available.”

The defender Town have in mind is one with Premier League experience, and one who could help lift the Blues over the promotion finishing line.

Magilton is also still chasing Portsmouth striker David Nugent, but he has given a deadline on how long he is prepared to wait.

“If we have not heard this week I will look elsewhere,” said Magilton. “It will take time for a newcomer to settle in - and we are running out of games.

“It is a risk with David (Nugent) but a risk worth taking as we still lacked something in the final third at Southampton on Saturday.

“We have done all we can with Portsmouth, and will now press them for an answer.

“If not we have other irons in the fire with David Healy a player I have said I like, but that is not to say he is the one I have in mind.”

Healy would fit the bill however, and so would Derby's Robert Earnshaw, who could both be 'loaned' until the end of the campaign.

Magilton is banking on Blues fans to make an impact tonight against a team recognised as the 'Norwich of the north' after a number of controversial games in the mid-1990s.

“It is great to be at home again,” added Magilton.

“Our fans were absolutely magnificent at St Mary's, Southampton on Saturday and it was a pity we did not give them more to cheer.

“Hopefully we can put that right tonight.

“Our supporters can play a massive part this evening. They need to be like our away support.

“The players need to get the crowd going which in turn will give them a lift.”

After gaining so much success at Portman Road in the first half of the season, Ipswich have won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six home matches.

With no game on Saturday because of Cardiff City's involvement in the FA Cup, Ipswich's next match is at Barnsley next Tuesday.