Magilton will keep his cool

JIM Magilton may be volatile but he is not stupid and the Blues skipper will make sure there is no chicken counting going on today, writes Derek Davis.

JIM Magilton may be volatile but he is not stupid and the Blues skipper will make sure there is no chicken counting going on today, writes Derek Davis.

Town take a slender single-goal lead into their second leg at Upton Park but Magilton knows the task of getting to the final is nowhere near completed.

He warned: "We are wary. We are cautious because we know exactly what will come at us at their place.

"We know if we can keep West Ham quite for the first 20 minutes then their crowd will play a part in it. If we can keep the ball as we did at Christmas when we went there, then the crowd get edgy and start to get on their case a bit.

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"We have the goal lead so it is all set up, but we know they are a capable side."

Free-scoring Ipswich scored their 91st goal of the season but even more satisfying was they kept their ninth clean sheet.

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And with three highly-rated strikers like Bobby Zamora, David Conolly and Marlon Harewood in opposition, Magilton believes that was a terrific achievement.

He said: "Never in a million years did you think we would keep a clean sheet but defensively we were outstanding.

"It was two teams really going for it and the game was a great advert for the division. The first half was very open and entertaining.

"We are gung-ho and to keep a clean sheet against them was marvellous."

Man of the Match Fabian Wilnis was singled out for special praise and Magilton added: "The whole back four played very well. The keeper was sound and Fabian played as well as he has for a while.

"He has played a lot of games and has had an up and down season but he seems to play better in tense situations. When the pressure is on he rises to it."

Magilton, who has a temperament akin to a volcano but also rises to the occasion, was superb in a team full of great displays and coolness under pressure.

The skipper was impressed at the way the younger players handled the nerves and is convinced they are ready to deal with whatever is thrown at them at Upton Park.

He said: "Last week against Cardiff was a good test for us because the younger layers had not really been involved in that sort of atmosphere here before so they knew what was coming and they know what it is going to be like at Upton Park.

"They seemed to revel in it and came out firing after the mock test last week."

The 35-year-old who has 200 league games under his belt at Ipswich was given a standing ovation when he was substituted with 15 minutes left and, after revealing his regret at storming off last week in the EADT, joked about the crowd's ovation, which he greatly appreciated.

"When you win in the play-offs, everyone's your friend – even I got a cheer."

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