Jim yearns for home comforts

PUBLISHED: 14:52 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:40 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky IT was former Arsenal boss George Graham who observed that winning home games will always keep a manager in most supporters good books. Few current managers can testify to the truth of Graham s pronouncement better than Jim Magilton, whose I

By Ben Kosky

IT was former Arsenal boss George Graham who observed that winning home games will always keep a manager in most supporters' good books.

Few current managers can testify to the truth of Graham's pronouncement better than Jim Magilton, whose Ipswich team were virtually unbeatable at Portman Road two years ago.

A return of 52 points from 23 home matches kept the majority of the Tractor Boys' faithful very contented that year - even though their team picked up only 17 points on the road and missed out on the play-offs.

Now, after draws with Blackpool and Nottingham Forest - to say nothing of scraping through in the Carling Cup against League Two strugglers Accrington Stanley - Magilton is well aware that his QPR charges must start producing some eye-catching performances at Loftus Road.

Peterborough, still searching for their first win in the Championship, and Crystal Palace - who both visit W12 in the coming week - seem to represent ideal opportunities.

"I certainly feel our performances have warranted better results, but we know that anyone coming to Loftus Road now is going to make it very difficult and we have to deal with that," Magilton admitted.

"Accrington raised their game last time and the truth is that we didn't. To really sustain a challenge this year - or any year - in the Championship, your home record is very important.

"The last club I was at, our home record was so good that we were only a point out of the play-offs, even though we had the poorest away record in the division.

"You want to get to a stage where you expect to win your home games, regardless of the opposition, and we're hoping the win at Scunthorpe will give us a springboard and all the confidence to go into these next two."

If statistics do count for anything, their victory at Glanford Park should certainly give Rangers a serious boost - it was their first away success since late January.

Apart from relegated pair Charlton and Norwich, the Rs' record on the road last season was the worst in the Championship, whereas they have so far picked up a creditable four points from three trips.

And Magilton remains confident there is better to come from a squad on which he has still had only weeks rather than months to stamp his mark.

"Pre-season was a bedding-in period and a month into the season I still think it's taking time to get the message over," said the Rangers boss. "I came in with the realisation that there was enough quality in the squad.

"That hasn't disappointed me at all. What has uplifted John [Gorman] and myself is that the players' attitude has been different class and they've taken on board everything we've thrown at them."

Magilton hopes to include captain Martin Rowlands, who has been missing since picking up an ankle injury on the first day of the season, against Peterborough on Saturday.

But defender Fitz Hall has been ruled out of both the weekend game and next Tuesday's derby against Crystal Palace after tearing a groin muscle in training.

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