Perfect Christmas opportunity for Town

IPSWICH Town have a perfect opportunity to present their fans with a happy Christmas with five home matches coming up between now and December 22.The run kicks off with tonight's Coca-Cola Champion-ship game against George Burley's Southampton at Portman Road.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town have a perfect opportunity to present their fans with a happy Christmas with five home matches coming up between now and December 22.

The run kicks off with tonight's Coca-Cola Champion-ship game against George Burley's Southampton at Portman Road (start 7.45pm).

With 11 straight home wins to their name the Blues will be fancied to stack up the points, and be in a strong promotion challenging position by the time Santa comes to call.

And Town manager Jim Magilton agrees.

He said today: “We know what is ahead with five games at Portman Road out of the next seven.

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“The players are aware of the importance of keeping our home run going, but we can not expect another 6-0 tonight.

“The win over Bristol City 17 days ago was a one-off and is now a distant memory.

“A 1-0 victory will do me nicely tonight.”

Barnsley visit Portman Road on Saturday with Leicester (Dec 11), Scunthorpe (Dec 15) and Burnley (Dec 22) following suit in quick succession. The run is broken by away matches at Bristol City next Tuesday and at Charlton on Saturday week.

Ipswich need five more wins to beat their all-time record of 15 consecutive home victories - set in 1980/81 - and it would be fitting if this could be completed three days before the festive season.

But it will not be easy, and Magilton is taking one game at a time.

“There will be added pressure tonight after another away defeat at Cardiff on Saturday,” added Magilton.

“I was not too hard on them, and hopefully we will have now blown away the cobwebs after the fortnight break.

“Night games at Portman Road are always special, and the players can not wait to get started, and are angry to make amends.”

An Ipswich player when Burley led the Blues into the Premiership in 2000 and to fifth place in 2001, Magilton has the utmost respect for his former boss.

“I loved George's approach to training and games,” said Magilton.

“He was very professional and he expected high standards.

“I learned a lot from George, who had the benefit of playing under Sir Bobby Robson when he was playing at Portman Road.”

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