We can tough it out, Magilton

BLUES skipper Jim Magilton believes the current Ipswich Town squad is better equipped to deal with the rough and tumble of winning automatic promotion than the team of 2000.

By Derek Davis

BLUES skipper Jim Magilton believes the current Ipswich Town squad is better equipped to deal with the rough and tumble of winning automatic promotion than the team of 2000.

Magilton played a huge part in helping Town step into the Premiership via the play-offs but sees Joe Royle's side as a tougher bunch who can stand up to the hardest test after completing a double over Sheffield United this season.

Town had to stand tough against an intimidating Blades side to gain a 2-0 win, with goals coming from debutant David Unsworth and Shefki Kuqi.


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The victory takes the Blues five points clear at the Championship summit and follows a 5-1 drubbing over United in November.

The manner of the win at Bramall Lane impressed the captain.

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He said: “There is a real resilience about this side, a character that the other side possibly didn't have. That team possibly relied more on ability, and that is not to show disrespect to anyone.

“Our back four were different class, and to come away with three points from a place like this is some achievement.

“That could be the difference between getting automatic promotion this time than going up via the play-offs.

“There is still a hell of a long way to go, but we are in a position now where it would be a travesty if we didn't finish top two, but nothing is ever certain in football.”

Magilton conceded it was never pretty, but warned they would do whatever it takes to win.

He said: “That sort of gritty display is what it is going to take at places like this. It is about results, and performances are going to go out the window.

“We would like to play purist football but at times you can't, and you need to grind out results.

“We scored at vital times in the game and when we needed to keep a clean sheet we did.”

With Wigan losing at home to Stoke and Sunderland held to a draw at Wolves, Town have edged even nearer to their title ambition.

Magilton said: “It helps with other teams dropping points, but we can only take care of our end of the business. If other sides help us then so much the better.

“Not many teams will come to Bramall Lane and go away with all the points, so it is a feather in our cap that we have.”

The Irishman had little sympathy for the Blades, who claimed they should have had a penalty when Nick Montgomery went down under a Richard Naylor challenge and were also unhappy at Kuqi's goal which they said was offside.

Magilton said: “Bam Bam was absolutely adamant that it was not a penalty and the referee and linesman were in good positions.

“I'm not sure about the goal - perhaps it was a case of the players crossing over and the linesman has got confused.

“But I don't care - we will take the three points.”

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