Date: 31st August 2007 at 1:56pm
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After an impressive 4-1 opening day victory against Sheff Wed and pretty consistent league form since, Jim Magilton`s Ipswich are looking like being a hard team to beat this season. The luck of the Irishman may have deserted the Tractor Boys as they were dumped out of the Carling Cup by MK Dons but this could be the season for goals down at Portman Road.

When Lawrie Sanchez left the Northern Irish national job to build himself an average Championship side at Craven Cottage, Ipswich guvnor, and one time Liverpool trainee, Jim Magilton was a likely candidate. After all, with 52 International caps and 5 national goals to his name, Magilton is a bit of a legend down at ol` Windsor Park. Yet the 39 year old ruled himself out of the role and is now heading for a 40% win rate at Portman Road.

He may not be as mad cap as Martin Allen or as media savvy as Ian Holloway but Wee Jim has bagged 82 goals in 620 league games spanning Sheff Wed, Oxford, Saints as well as Ipswich, so he used to be able to play a bit as well?

3 spells at the Tractor Boys!!! Dear god, Tommy Miller must have a pretty big thing about carrot crunching (either that or his missus says he looks pretty damn good good in blue and white).

Ok, ok so a big money move to Sunderland may not have paid dividends in the big time but after being tracked by Stoke, Cov, Sheff Wed, Leeds, Forest and Hearts in the summer, he has returned to his rightful home?.

Ah bless. The VitalWatford boys can`t help but think it must be great to be a wanted man.

His name may sound more Welsh than Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrndrobwyll-llantisiliogogogoch (impressed huh?), yet playmaking midfielder Owen Garvan is actually an Irish U21 international.

The 19 year old has netted 5 times in 57 games for the Blue and White and has been dubbed ‘the next Stephen Gerrard` by the East Anglian local hacks. He’s even been placed on the shopping lists of Everton and Derby in recent weeks with a £2m price tag around his ankles.

Not content with bringing Kieron Dyer, Darren Ambrose, Darren Bent and er, Richard Wright into the world`s headlights, the Portman Road youth policy shows no sign of slowing.

At 19, both Chris Caseman (NI U21 defender) and Billy Clarke (Eire U16-21 striker) have plenty of first team pedigree, whilst 17 year old striker Jordan Rhodes, defender Gary Roberts and blocker Tommy Smith (there is only 1) all played key roles in helping the Tractor Boys win the FA Youth Cup in 2005.

“On my command, release Hell”. With 72 year old warrier Jason De Vos and centre back partner Alex Bruce (what? Still no broken nose?) likely to face new strike partnership Marlon King and Nathan Ellington, it`s doing to be a bit of ol` ding dong up top.

Magilton`s side has been pretty darn solid at the back so far this term but their gonna need all the experience and know how in De Vos`s locker and the pace of Bruce if they are to keep the Hornets front line at bay.

Ole! The return of sun blessed god Pablo Counago from his spell with Malaga has added an extra dimension to the Blue and White`s strike threat, having netted 33 times in 99 games for Ipswich.

Battering ram and aerial threat Alan Lee has been on fire so far (with a hat trick on the opening day) whilst rough cut diamond Jonathon Walters (picked up from the lower leagues) and Academy hotshot Billy Clark should also provided JDM and Danny with a stern test.

It can`t help being nicknamed ‘Monica` and looking a bit like a magician off childrens TV but Sylvain Legwinski has had a right time of it in his career – 125 games for Monaco as well as spells with Bordeaux and Fulham (£3.3m transfer) before joining Ipswich.

The 33 year old also has a number of French Under 21 caps to show his grand kids but that was a long, long, long time ago now?

According to those ever so wise people down at Soccerbase, Sylvain Legwinski is the only Ipswich player ever to have scored against all East Anglian opposition during one season (2006/2007).

Bad news for Norwich City, Colchester, Southend and Luton. Great news for Dr Watford (well, it means the good doctor hasn`t got to waste too much of his precious time finding some obscure fact that nobody knew’)

Rough. Magilton`s team will not be easy to play against They will look to knock it about a bit but also have a bit of niggle about them. Last year`s cup game was a good example of what to expect. A score draw would be a not too disappointing result but given the ups and downs so far this season the doom merchants down at the Vic will only be happy with 3 points.