Football: Ipswich busy on and off pitch

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The Independent Online
TRANSFER DEADLINE day is approaching and the wheeling and dealing done now by teams vying for promotion and fighting relegation can be crucial. For example, Ipswich Town will be keen to finalise the transfer of Jim Magilton, who capped the last game of his two-month loan period from Sheffield Wednesday with the first goal in their 3-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town which kept them in second place.

"The chairmen have been in discussion for most of the week," George Burley, the Ipswich manager, said. "Jim is going to Ireland over the weekend and we will discuss personal terms when he returns."

It was Ipswich's 21st clean sheet in the league this season, a knack their East Anglian neighbours, Norwich City, might think about acquiring. They were thrashed 4-1 at third-placed Bradford City, who were 4-0 up at half-time. Among the goal feast, Lee Mills scored to take his season's total to 21 and Jamie Lawrence scored the pick of them, dashing 30 yards through the porous Norwich defence to slip the ball past Andy Marshall. Perhaps the Norwich director, Delia Smith, should look at the Canaries' pre-match menu.

In the second half Norwich pulled a goal back and Bradford had John Dreyer sent off, but the game had been won and lost long ago. "The dressing-room was subdued after the match because we wanted to score more goals and that could be crucial at the end of the season," Paul Jewell, the Bradford manager, said, "but it doesn't matter what you say to players at half- time when you are 4-0 up - inevitably they take their foot off the gas."

Bolton Wanderers, who had gone five games without a win and conceded three goals in each of their three previous matches, got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Queen's Park Rangers at the Reebok Stadium. Bob Taylor scored both of their goals. "I'd left him out against Barnsley because I felt he needed a breather," Bolton's manager, Colin Todd, said, "but I was confident he would come back and do a good job. He certainly seemed to enjoy himself."

In the ruck tussling for the fourth play-off place, Wolverhampton Wanderers made the biggest gain, jumping from ninth to sixth after defeating struggling Bristol City. Havaard Flo scored twice in the 3-0 win. Sheffield United kept pace after a fright at Tranmere Rovers. Trailing 2-0 on the hour, substitute Traianos Dellas scored two in their 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, Grimsby Town and Crewe Alexandra both had enforced midwinter breaks, three postponed matches meaning they had not played since 27 February. Lowly Crewe, inactive since winning at Bolton, had clearly put the lay- off to good use and won away again, 2-1 at Swindon Town. First-half goals by Rodney Jack and Phil Charnock put them on track and although Chris Hay's second-half strike threatened to derail the Railwaymen, Alex held on.

Grimsby had a harder task. Their visitors were the runaway leaders, Sunderland,who won 2-0 to stay 12 points ahead of the pack, passing the 80-point mark in the process. "We just have to keep rolling," Peter Reid, the Wearsiders manager, said. "The next target is three points against Bolton." They are forewarned.