Magilton blow for Town

SKIPPER Jim Magilton will miss the season opener against Gillingham and any hoped-for new signings are extremely unlikely for the Blues, writes Derek Davis.

SKIPPER Jim Magilton will miss the season opener against Gillingham and any hoped-for new signings are extremely unlikely for the Blues, writes Derek Davis.

Defender Justin Hoyte will reject the chance to sign for Ipswich Town on a season-long loan and although Town have never confirmed, or denied, that the player they are chasing is Hoyte, it is widely believed the young Gunner was a target.

Arsenal are reluctant to let the versatile youngster out until they have brought in another defender - but even then it is unlikely he will go to Ipswich.

The EADT understands that at least two other clubs have now asked about taking Hoyte on loan and the player himself would prefer to stay in London.


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Blues boss Joe Royle is resigned to losing his skipper for Saturday unless Magilton (above), reports in fully fit tomorrow, while Jason De Vos will be in for treatment today and is a slight doubt.

Royle said: “Jim has a slight tear and we would not want to risk him missing any further matches. It would be better to not play one and be back quickly than not be available for more games.

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“We will wait and see but unless he comes in on Friday morning fully fit and wanting to play it is unlikely we will risk him.”

Magilton gets his share of stick from an unappreciative section of the crowd but Royle made no bones about how he would be missed.

He said: “There are very few players at any level who influence a game the way Jim can.

“He is very important to us. I know and the players know what he does and it is massive.

“We are going to have to address him not being here one day but I would rather it was some way off yet.”

If the Blues stick to the 4-3-3 they used so much in pre-season then that would probably mean new signing Kevin Horlock, who has recovered from a knee problem picked up against Osasuna, making his league debut in a Town shirt.

Tommy Miller and Ian Westlake would make up the midfield trio. If they go to a four then fit again Matt Richards could push up into the left side of midfield, with Fabian Wilnis at left-back and Drissa Diallo on the right side of defence.

Royle doesn't expect to be signing any new players in time for the Gills, although a decision on French striker Pascal Nouma won't be made until after Friday's training.

He said: “It is highly unlikely that we will get anyone in. That said it only takes one phone call for things to change.”

Iwan Roberts will make his Gills debut on Saturday after signing from Norwich City, while Darius Henderson is out through both injury and his wife expecting their first child today.

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