Three points will send out a message

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton today said that three points at league leaders Stoke City tomorrow (kick off 3pm) will send a message to the rest of the Coca-Cola Championship.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton today said that three points at league leaders Stoke City tomorrow (kick off 3pm) will send a message to the rest of the Coca-Cola Championship.

Magilton has an injury-free squad that he will be taking to Staffordshire this afternoon and after victories in their last two away matches the Blues' boss is confident of giving Stoke a severe test.

He said: “This is the time of the season when you cannot afford any slip ups. They are important weeks and the players are aware of this.

“If we manage to collect three points against the league leaders it will send a message ringing through the rest of the division that we are still in with a shout of an automatic promotion place.

“If we are to make a statement then this is the time to do it.

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“Most people thought that West Bromwich Albion and Watford would build up a lead at the top, but it has not happened.

“They have slowly but surely been pegged back and although our definite aim is to ensure we grab a play-off place we have not written off our chances of a top two finish.”

Magilton said that there was a temptation to field an unchanged team for the third game running although he added: “We will probably have a training game today and I will see after then what selections I will make.

“There could be one or two surprises. We will have to wait and see.”

Magilton is well aware of the threat posed by Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller, who had a successful loan period at Portman Road two years ago.

Magilton said: “He is the best striker in the division at the moment and is both making and scoring goals.

“I played with him here and know how good he is.

“Stoke have players all over the park who can contribute - and I am sure will contribute - but Ricardo is someone we have to dominate or we will be in trouble. It is a big match for our back four.”

Magilton confirmed that he has heard nothing more from Portsmouth or striker David Nugent following Pompey boss Harry Redknapp's statement that he would be happy to let the England international go out on loan to Ipswich for the rest of the season.

Magilton confirmed Redknapp's opinion when he said: “It is up to the player, firstly whether he wants to come and secondly whether he is over is current injury.

“It will probably be next week before we find out.

“I am still chasing a central defensive addition to the squad and that will also wait a few days now before we know any further, and if we can bring in a player or two to give us the quality to cross the line that will take us to the Premier League then that will be ideal.”