Walters poised for first team berth

BLUES boss Jim Magilton is close to finalising his preferred starting XI for the coming season - and he is looking to include Jon Walters in it.The striker, who was bought from Chester for around £150,00,0 was used as a right-sided midfielder in the 1-1 draw at Antwerp on Tuesday and Magilton feels that could solve the conundrum for him with Alan Lee and Pablo Counago the first-choice strikers.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Jim Magilton is close to finalising his preferred starting XI for the coming season - and he is looking to include Jon Walters in it.

The striker, who was bought from Chester for around £150,00,0 was used as a right-sided midfielder in the 1-1 draw at Antwerp on Tuesday and Magilton feels that could solve the conundrum for him with Alan Lee and Pablo Counago the first-choice strikers.

Magilton said: “Jon Walters has to play in our team, it is as simple as that. He has had a fantastic pre-season and done everything we have asked of him. He will be dangerous playing out there and if we can get balls into the box then that will give us opportunities to score goals.

“Alan, Pablo and Jon, with the right sort of delivery, will score us goals.”

Less likely to be a regular fixture on the left sided is Gavin Williams who played there on Tuesday but only for fitness with Gary Roberts the more likely starter, with Owen Garvan and Tommy Miller combining in the middle.

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Magilton explained: “I just wanted Gavin to get more games and from that aspect I was pleased.

“We are still tinkering with things in training but as a pair Tommy and Owen can work together and both take on defensive responsibilities when needed. They are still learning to play alongside each other and will get better.”

Town are hoping to get Frenchman Sylvain Legwinski back after his broken foot after deciding to leave him behind earlier in the week so he could work with fitness coach Simon Thadani.

“I want to give Sylvain a proper work out and if we can get him a game on Sunday we will do. We have to nurse him though a she has not played much football since March.” Town fans will get a chance to judge for themselves how the new-look team will fare this season when they entertain Panathinaikos on Sunday.

Magilton said: “It is a great fixture for us. If we can recreate the sort of play we showed against Antwerp then I will be delighted.

“It is a great chance for the fans to see a very good European team.”

The manager is pleased with how the preparations have gone and predicts the team will start the season better than last year.

He said: “The fixtures have been tough and we have taken a lot of positives from them. We looked bright and stronger as the game wore on. I'm pleased with the way it has gone and feel I'm very close to my starting XI.

“I was a lot happier against Antwerp than I was in the previous two games. It would have been a travesty if we had lost that game.”

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