Joe hails his skipper

JOE Royle hailed man of the match Jim Magilton's contribution to the win over Watford, although a double substitution played its part as well.The Blues boss threw on Pablo Counago and debut-making Shefki Kuqi at half-time after an abysmal first 45 minutes.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle hailed man of the match Jim Magilton's contribution to the win over Watford, although a double substitution played its part as well.

The Blues boss threw on Pablo Counago and debut-making Shefki Kuqi at half-time after an abysmal first 45 minutes.

The tactic briefly looked to have backfired when Watford went ahead through Scott Fitzgerald two minutes after the break, but goals from skipper Magilton and Kuqi gave Town their third league win in a row.

Royle said: "It is nice when they work. The changes were to shake us up and wake us up.

"But we still conspired to give a goal away and once more Kelvin (Davis) has not done anything wrong and yet has not got a clean sheet.

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"We worked and worked and I said to the players at half-time we had 100% effort but no quality.

"In the first half we were like two frightened teams looking over our shoulders. But hopefully this will take us on. It only took us six games to get to the bottom now, hopefully, it will only take us six games to get near the top."

By going to three up front, Town created extra space in midfield, which Irishman Magilton relished – and he took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Not only did he lay on a goal and score a peach, but he kept Watford on the back foot in the second half.

A far cry from the opening couple of minutes when he attempted to clear a corner only to see it whizz goalwards and had teenage defender Matt Richards to thank for clearing off the line.

Royle said: "The midfield ran the second half. We played two against their middle two deeper, allowing Jim a freer role, and they just didn't know where he was coming from.

"Jim ran the game. His was an excellent goal at any standard. I was delighted for Jim. He has been an inspiration. Even when we were struggling he wanted the ball and was trying to get on and pass it."

And he was full of praise for the extra two men he put up front.

He said: "Pablo made a big difference when he came on, and if he can start games the way he plays when he goes on as a substitute then he would be one hell of a player. He gave us that extra guile around the box

"Shefki's pace and size and his ability to get behind people will give us a lot. I'm not saying he is Superman or anything but I know what he will give us, and he will give us that every week. He is physical and he is strong but he can also play a bit."

As important as the three points were in helping Town move up to 16th place in the table, Royle admitted it was not all pretty viewing.

"The first half was turgid. I did not enjoy watching us, we could not pass – we were either giving it to the opposition or our own back four. We had a spring in our step in the second half and the triangle in midfield won the game for us and kept picking holes in them

"The two centre halves won the aerial battle and it was good to have a bit of height about us, with Shefki back there as well."

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