Midfield key

JIM Magilton believes the key to Ipswich' Town's future success lays with a midfield he has dubbed among the best in the Championship.Gavin Williams has been passed fit after an injection into the pelvic area eased his pain, while Gary Roberts is expected to play despite missing training this week, also with a groin problem.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton believes the key to Ipswich' Town's future success lays with a midfield he has dubbed among the best in the Championship.

Gavin Williams has been passed fit after an injection into the pelvic area eased his pain, while Gary Roberts is expected to play despite missing training this week, also with a groin problem.

And along with Owen Garvan and Sylvain Legwinski, the midfield quartet are expected to overpower a Stoke side who could be without the inspiration of on-loan Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao.

Magilton said: “Our midfield four are as good as any in this division. We just need to try and keep them fit.

“There may come a time when Owen hits a wall after what he has been through. We will monitor him but he has been very good since he came back and we will be guided by who is fit or not.

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“He is a single-minded, determined young man and has a desperation to play.

“Gavin is a concern, especially with the amount of training he has missed, so we will wrap him up in cotton wool as he is in pain after games.”

Town welcome seventh-placed Stoke today and Magilton has plenty of respect for Tony Pulis' side that are usually seen as direct.

Magilton said: “Stoke were a bit unfortunate at Colchester and missed a few chances. But they have a strong squad and all Tony Pulis' sides are tough to beat.

“They will enjoy coming here but we need to be more consistent and get on a run.

“The loan players have done very well for Stoke. They are good players who have played at the highest level and they have given him the quality he was looking for.

“It gave them the kick they needed but it will be interesting to see what Tony does in January.

“Defensively Stoke have a very good record but Colchester proved there are obvious weaknesses. It is about us now. If we play well and at the tempo that we want to dictate then we can play at a high level and get positive results.”

Main Potters' dangerman is Ricardo Fuller, who had an eventful loan spell at Portman Road last season.

Magilton said: “Fuller is a very good player and gets goals. He was very unfortunate at Colchester but we will have to watch him. The Stoke front two are very dangerous on their day and we need to contain then.

“We expect to win our home games, and the players expectations have risen, so I expect us to go out and win the game.” Billy Clarke has also recovered from an ankle injury and is included in the squad.

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