Jim's warning over defensive worries

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has warned his side to start tightening up defensively or they will struggle to win games in the Championship this season.Magilton is not just pointing fingers at his back five but insists the team must work harder all round to stop shipping goals.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has warned his side to start tightening up defensively or they will struggle to win games in the Championship this season.

Magilton is not just pointing fingers at his back five but insists the team must work harder all round to stop shipping goals.

The Blues have let in six goals against non-league opposition in the past week and Magilton is looking for his team to get back to the way they defended in the latter stages of the Championship season when they allowed just seven goals in their final eight matches.


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Magilton said: “I don't like the way we are conceding goals in pre-season and to me that doesn't bode well. It is case of getting back onto the training ground and working hard with them.

“We got into a rhythm and routine towards the end of last season that I was happy with. Not just the back four, but the whole team as a defensive unit, so we need to get back to that.”

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Town went behind to a first-half goal at Nene Park on Saturday before getting themselves out of trouble with goals from Jon Walters and Gary Roberts.

Magilton said: “If we turn up to places like Rushden & Diamonds and expect to roll teams over, it just doesn't happen like that. Unless you are fully prepared and focused on your job, you will be punished as we have in pre-season. Stevenage gave us a stiff test and it was the same again against Rushden, so unless we are absolutely on the ball we will lose games.

“I don't want us to have to score three or four goals to win a game. I will be happy with a 1-0. In the Championship, especially away from home, it is vital that it is all hands to the pump and we are not conceding. It is vital to pick up points away and it has to be a starting point for us. If we get the foundations right then we can build on it because we have goals in the team.”

The Blues responded to a half-time tongue-lashing to run out winners against Garry Hill's Blue Square Premier League side.

Magilton said: “We had a few choice words at half-time and I asked for a little bit more quality and passion, which we got second half. We made changes which was good and it gave players a game.”

The Walters and Alan Lee combination has been a bright spot for Town so far and Magilton has been delighted with how the former Chester man has shaped up.

He said: “Jon Walters has been tremendous for us pre-season. It was a great ball from Gary (Roberts) and a great finish. Jon was asked to go out wide second half and he did it.

“He is a fantastic pro and I'm delighted we have him here, His work ethic and his quality is infectious and rubs off on everybody.”

Pablo Counago took a knock to a knee in the latter stages of the game although Magilton expects him to be fine. Town's next friendly is away at Crawley Town tomorrow.

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