Jim's message ahead of Antwerp game

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton will send his players into action at Royal Antwerp tonight with a clear message ringing in their ears.The Blues boss is to select a side that will be as close as possible to the one he wants to field in the opening Coca-Cola Championship game of the 2007/08 season.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton will send his players into action at Royal Antwerp tonight with a clear message ringing in their ears.

The Blues boss is to select a side that will be as close as possible to the one he wants to field in the opening Coca-Cola Championship game of the 2007/08 season.

And he will tell his players: “Go out and prove to me that you deserve a regular starting place.”


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Magilton has purposely engineered pre-season so that his team played non-league opposition for five weeks.

They now step up with tonight's match against Belgium Second Division opposition and Sunday's home contest with Greek giants Panathinaikos.

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The league season kicks-off on Saturday August 11 with a visit to Portman Road of Sheffield Wednesday.

Magilton, who took his players in a training session at the Royal Antwerp ground this morning, said: “I am getting closer to what I want my starting line-up to be against Wednesday.

“With respect to the sides we have played so far this summer, I expect tougher contests tonight and on Sunday.

“I want to see how we can defend and how we can retain the ball. Ball retention is very important if you want to be a success.

“And I want us to look sharp and have a good tempo going forward.”

The Town party took a coach to Ashford in Kent yesterday, and then travelled by train to Brussels where they were picked up by another coach to be taken to their Antwerp hotel.

Midfielder Sylvain Legwinski was in the original squad, but has stayed behind to work on his fitness with fitness coach Simon Thadani. The Frenchman, who has recovered from a foot injury sustained at Luton last March and played against Chelmsford two weeks ago, is expected to be included in a behind-closed-doors friendly later in the week.

Magilton said: “Sylvain was going to come with us but we feel that he will benefit more from staying at the club and spending three days working hard than two days travelling.”

French triallist Arsene Menassou has missed the trip because of a hamstring strain, but he remains at the club.

Richard Naylor and Jaime Peters are also working on their fitness at the Town training ground, while there was no place in the party for England Under-21 international Matt Richards.

Town squad: Alexander, Bruce, Clarke, Counago, De Vos, Garvan, Harding, Haynes, Lee, Miller, O'Callaghan, Roberts, Supple, Walters, Williams, Wilnis, Wright.

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