Rookie bosses getting the point

PEACE has broken out between Jim Magilton and his Norwich counterpart Peter Grant.The two rookie bosses clashed venomously when Magilton was the Blues skipper and Grant the West Ham assistant manager during the 2004 play-offs.

By Derek Davis

PEACE has broken out between Jim Magilton and his Norwich counterpart Peter Grant.

The two rookie bosses clashed venomously when Magilton was the Blues skipper and Grant the West Ham assistant manager during the 2004 play-offs.

The enraged Irishman had to be restrained after being taunted by the scathing Scot towards the end of the second leg at Portman Road 20-months ago.


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While Ipswich and Magilton simmered the Hammers went on to beat Preston in the final and achieve the Premiership dream.

But a lot of football has been played since then and both men have moved on.

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Magilton revealed that he and Grant had since kissed and made up - well, metaphorically speaking anyway - and that he would welcome the Canaries' boss to Portman Road on Sunday.

He said: “What happened then was down to the passion and emotion of a play-off semi-final. We both wanted our teams to win and things were said but that is all behind us now. We have made up since then and there are no problems.

“In fact Peter was very helpful when we wanted to take Mark Noble from West Ham and he helped us arrange it.”

Ironically Grant is now understood to be keen to take Noble on loan at Carrow Road, although no deal would be possible before the derby match.

Magilton admitted he would not be best pleased if that were to happen. He said: “I would be annoyed if Mark went to any Championship club. I'm hoping he gets into the West Ham first team and I know that is what Mark is hoping for, too.

“I know Mark enjoyed it here and would hope that if he were to become available on loan again in January he would let us know and come back here where he would be very welcome.”

Grant was also keen to play down any suggestions that the two could be warring on the touchline once again and insisted he held no grudge towards Magilton.

He said: “I am not that type, there's no problem there at all.

“Tensions are always high in games and playing against each other like we did it never created a problem.

“I dealt with Jim a lot when Ipswich took Mark Noble on loan from West Ham and one of the first faxes I received when I got the job here was from Jim. So no, definitely no problem.”

After playing in eight East Anglian clashes, Magilton is relishing his first one as a manager. He said: “I loved playing in these derby games, they are brilliant matches and for me highly underrated.

“Derby days tend to be more about the supporters than anything else and bragging rights, so we know as players and as a manger how important it is to them. Hopefully the game will go off without any incident as usual because the supporters have always been brilliant and I hope it stays that way.

“As manager I will be welcoming Norwich as I would any team and after the game Peter will be invited into the office for a drink as any manager would be.”

Both managers have been busy bringing in reinforcements before the crucial clash.

The importance for Ipswich is that defeat would not only see them staring at the relegation zone but would also see City nudge towards the play-off places.

Magilton has brought in a sixth goalkeeper to Portman Road with on-loan Wigan gloveman Mike Pollitt joining the injured Shane Supple, Lewis Price, Czech international Jaroslav Drobny, who is on a month's contract, reserve keeper Andrew Plummer and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes, who is registered as a player. Matthew Bates has joined on loan until January from Middlesbrough and will make his debut against City.

The Canaries have brought in winger Luke Chadwick, who joined initially on loan from Stoke but is expected to make the move permanent in a £750,000 switch in January, so he can be nearer to his Cambridgeshire-based family.

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