Not quite a perfect 10 - but not far off

AS exciting, brilliant and welcome, as this emphatic win over Wolves was, it is impossible to compare this Ipswich Town side with the one that last won 10 games in a row at home.

By Derek Davis

AS exciting, brilliant and welcome, as this emphatic win over Wolves was, it is impossible to compare this Ipswich Town side with the one that last won 10 games in a row at home.

For a start, the Sir Bobby Robson team that also beat a Wolves side 26 years ago in the 10th game of a run that became a record 15, was playing at the highest level, and also went on to win the UEFA Cup.

The Sir Alf Ramsey side that also achieved 10 in a row in the mid-1950s went on to win the old Championship, back in the days when it was the top echelon in English football.

Not bad markers for the current Town boss Jim Magilton, who knows he is nowhere near either of those great men and may not even be at the club in six months.

Magilton said: “They are some names to follow, if I can do half as well as they have done at this football club I will be a happy man.

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“The players deserve credit for the run because they had to show resilience and passion again.

“Winning 10 in a row is a very proud record and the players showed a real desire to maintain it.”

The one thing both Sir Alf and Sir Bobby were given was time and in, this demanding world of instant success, it can only be hoped that Magilton and his coach Bryan Klug are given the same luxury.

There are signs that this team could be the germ for future success, and that means getting into the Premiership.

With so many clubs looking for managers, it would be insane if Magilton and Klug, whose current contracts run out at the end of the season, are not given new deals, tying them to Portman Road for at least another two-and-a-half years.

Magilton is well aware that if the takeover talks are successful then he could be out the door if the new owner wants his own man in.

It could be that these talks are preventing the club from actually sitting down with Magilton and offering a new deal. The club has for weeks been saying it will hold talks with Magilton but, as time ticks by, as relaxed as Magilton is about contracts, so the uncertainty festers.

By agreeing new deal now, it offers him and his coaching staff security and, if they are not wanted by the new people, then at least they will be suitably compensated, although it is probably without doubt new opportunities would soon open up for them.

Being in the Premier League would make things a lot more secure for everyone and, while it was not the completely perfect 10 in terms of performance against Wolves, it was getting there.

It was a nervous first 15 minutes, even when Neil Alexander saved a stutter-step penalty from Freddy Eastwood, Town had to batten down the hatches until they could get their own game going.

There was plenty to admire, as highlighted when Jon Walters found Owen Garvan in space and he played a through ball for Alan Lee to finish with the outside of his boot three minutes before the break.

Mick McCarthy bemoaned the mistakes made by his own side to allow Town to capitalise and he had a point.

But even so, all Town's goals were high quality. The second came when Pablo Counago turned on to a throw-in and wriggled his way past a couple of hesitant defenders and the keeper before showing agility to poke in from close range.

The third stemmed from a powerful surge by the outstanding Dan Harding, who fed substitute Danny Haynes, who twisted and turned before belting the ball past a demoralised Wayne Hennessey.

There is a marked difference between this and last season as Magilton stamps his personality on the side.

He said: “I have had more time with the players and my work ethic and passion is rubbing off on them.

“We build on our strengths and work on our weaknesses. I ask them to be honest and work hard on the game.

“There is real pride in the way we play and the way we move the ball with real tempo and quality.”

“I will push the players to the limit and these players have shown an application and attitude in training to get better and, on our days, we are as good as anyone. What we need to do is have more of those better days than poor days.

“I can only do so much, once they cross the white line it is down to what they do.”

What Town now need to do is turn those half decent displays away from home into results that match the Portman Road form.

Sunday at Carrow Road would be the ideal place to do that and, like many of us that see them on their travels, Magilton believes the first away win since March is nigh.

He said: “I'm confident that that first away win is going to come. Recent performances have suggested that we are close to achieving it and Norwich on Sunday would be a nice place to get it.

“We have to just keep playing the way we have been.

“We won't be carried away but it is nice to look at the table and see where we are.”

Beating Norwich won't compare what those football greats Sir Alf and Sir Bobby accomplished but it will reinforce the fans' feeling for Magilton and, possibly more importantly, give Town another three points towards Premier League promotion.

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