Jim hoping to repeat golfing success

JIM Magilton and Geraint Williams have had some tussles over their illustrious careers but the Irishman got one over on the Welshman recently in a different sporting arena.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton and Geraint Williams have had some tussles over their illustrious careers but the Irishman got one over on the Welshman recently on a different sporting arena.

Now Magilton is hoping to put another one over on his rival at Colchester although history has taught him it won't be easy.

Although Williams, known in the game as George, also played for Ipswich under George Burley, he had left before Magilton was signed so the two never played together at Portman Road but locked horns previously.

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Magilton said: “He was a horrible little man - in the nicest possible way. He was awful to play against, a very difficult opponent.”

Fate has conspired to pit the two midfielders against each other in the first league meeting between Colchester and Ipswich for nearly 50 years in their first season as managers.

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It didn't augur well for either when both were jockeying for position at the bottom of the table with three straight defeats.

The two struggling bosses decided to vent their frustrations with a different set of clubs and a Town scout.

Magilton said: “It was a pretty horrific start for both of us so we just decided to get together and we went for a game of golf at Woodbridge with Charlie Woods.

“We just did it to get away from it and never really talked about football but it was just good for us - and I won. We had a good time but on the Monday we were back at it and it seems to have worked for us.”

Now the duo are going head to head for the September manager of the month award after a run of five unbeaten league games for the U's and six for the Blues.

Magilton believes a couple of key signings and consistency have been vital to the turnaround in the U's fortunes.

He said: “George has had the luxury of being able to pick the same team while we have not been afforded that luxury.

“They also have Ray Harford on the coaching staff now and I'm sure his experience and knowledge has helped make a difference.

“I know George was delighted that Wayne Brown signed a new contract. I feel he has been the cornerstone for their success and he has been a massive player for them.

“Brownie is a very good friend and I'll enjoy us playing against him.”

Like Magilton, Williams was something of a surprise internal appointment, but the Irishman has no doubt that Peter Heard and his board have got it right.

He said: “George has done a fantastic job at Colchester.

“They had a similar start as us but George and his staff stuck to it and the players responded as has been shown by the results of late.

“George had a head start when he took over as manager as he had been a coach and assistant manager there for a while but he always wanted to be in control as manager of his own club.

“It was a good choice by Colchester, he was the right man for the job and I was delighted when he got it.”

Although for the Blues Norwich is seen as Town's main derby match, Magilton knows how much this first meeting in half a century will mean to the two clubs 20 miles apart.

He said: “It is great to have Colchester in the Championship. It is important to have two teams from the area, four with Norwich and Southend.”

As if extra spice were needed anyway, a win for either side would make a significant difference to their league positions.

Three points for Town would take them to second place behind leaders Cardiff, even if for less than 24 hours. A Colchester win by two clear goals would catapult the U's above Town, who go into the game in eighth place.

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