Must do better

JIM Magilton starts the second half of the season tomorrow knowing that his side have improved slightly on this time last year but must do better.Ipswich Town entertain seventh-placed Stoke City having reached the midway point of the season in 15th place - exactly where Joe Royle's side finished at the end of the last campaign.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton starts the second half of the season tomorrow knowing that his side have improved slightly on this time last year but must do better.

Ipswich Town entertain seventh-placed Stoke City having reached the midway point of the season in 15th place - exactly where Joe Royle's side finished at the end of the last campaign.

But Magilton will be cheered in the knowledge that Town are two places, and three points better off than at this stage last December.


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The previous year Town were top of the table having just beaten Wigan and stayed there until March before getting beaten at the JJB Stadium and slipping out of the top two.

That failure, and the subsequent slide down the table last season, cost Royle his job but Magilton knows he will be given more time by an understanding board even if Town don't improve by much.

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The first six months in the job have been a steep learning curve for Magilton, who has made no secret that he wants to jettison a number of the long-serving players and bring in new signings in the January window.

If Blues' form in the second half of the season mirrors the first 23 games then Town are on target to finish with 58 points - which last season would have seen them end up in 12th place, marginally better than last term's gloomy climax.

Dean Bowditch is to see a specialist at Bisham Abbey in a bid to cure a recurring groin problem, which has affected his loan spell at Brighton, before resorting to surgery.

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