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Walsh closes in on new deal

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Thu, 04 Apr 2013 17:15:00

Former Ipswich and Queens Park Rangers boss Jim Magilton has thrown his hat into the ring for the vacant manager's job at Leeds United.

Leeds are searching for a new manager after Neil Warnock stepped down from his role at Elland Road earlier this week.

Magilton, who most recently worked in Australia as head coach of Melbourne Victory having previously enjoyed successful stints with Ipswich Town and Queens Park Rangers, is highly-regarded in coaching circles.

In his first managerial role at Ipswich the 43-year-old just missed out on the play-offs in his second season in charge at Portman Road before moving to QPR.

A number of names have been linked with the Leeds job and former Northern Ireland international Magilton admits he would be interested in the replacing Warnock at Elland Road as he looks to get back into management.

"Of course I would be interested in taking over at Leeds United," Magilton told skysports.com.

"Leeds United are a massive club in England and it would be a fantastic job for anyone.

"I would relish the chance to manage Leeds and it would be an honour for whoever gets it."

Taylor broke and dislocated his ankle in a challenge with Sunderland's Craig Gardner, and was expected to miss the rest of the campaign.

However, the 24-year-old played 80 minutes for the club's Under-21s on Tuesday night, and with seven games remaining, Swans boss Laudrup expects to be able to include Taylor in his squad at some stage before the end of the season.

Laudrup said: "Physically he is quite close to being back.

"He has trained with us for some weeks, but we all know match fitness is a different level and only by coming back will he get that.

"The physical part is one thing, the mental part is another after a triple fracture, which is quite an injury.

"I am happy he's back and let's see when he can come in and make his comeback."

This weekend's trip to Norwich will come too soon for Taylor, but Laudrup has been boosted by the fitness of Chico Flores and Angel Rangel for the clash with the Canaries.

Flores aggravated an ankle injury having returned from seven weeks on the sidelines against Tottenham, while Rangel missed the 2-1 defeat with a calf problem, but both have returned to training.

Kemy Agustien is also closing in on a return from a thigh injury.

Laudrup said: "Chico and Angel have been training this week and should be back. Kemy has also been training with us for a couple of days."

Swansea head to Carrow Road on the back of three straight defeats and will be hoping to turn that run around as they look to hang on to a place in the top 10.

Norwich, on the other hand, are still in the midst of a battle against relegation, and Chris Hughton's side have won just one of their last 14 Premier League games.

Laudrup wants to see his side get back on track, and close in on his target of 50 points for the season.

"Norwich are a very strong team struggling with a very bad run, they are at home, and they will want to beat us," he said.

"We can win, but the most important thing is to come back and get at least a point.

"It will be a hard game, a physical game. Norwich are the team with the most goals from set-pieces in the league, more than Stoke, West Ham or Everton, which was a surprise.

"We are one of the teams who concede the most goals from set-pieces. We have to be strong, not concede free-kicks and corners. It will be a tough game for us, really tough.

"Fifty points is still possible, but if we want them with the games we have to play we need to at least get a draw this weekend."

Midfielder Rose will stay with Evo-Stik Division One South Stamford AFC, where he has been for the last month, while striker Denton is to remain at Evo-Stik Premier League Stocksbridge Park Steels.

The Millers have a 24-hour recall option in place.

Norwich currently lie in 14th place in the Premier League, four points above the relegation zone with seven games remaining after scoring only five league goals this year.

Hughton, who took over as manager at Carrow Road last summer, believes the spirit in his squad ultimately will ensure safety.

Norwich take on League Cup winners Swansea at home on Saturday and asked whether each remaining game would be tantamount to a cup final, Hughton said: "I think so. It doesn't mean a bad result in any of those games is the end of the world. You have to go again, just as you can't sit on a good result, you have to get another after that.

"It will not be determined by one game but we have got ourselves into a position where it is in our own hands and the spirit is good."

Hughton, however, is aware of the size of the task facing his side to stay up in just their second season back in the top flight.

"We have to accept where we are as a club," Hughton said.

"Look around us and teams that have got less points than us or fractionally more than us are clubs which have been in this division for more years than we have of late and have more experience and bigger budgets. We could take strength from that."

Hughton reckons 40 points, or two more wins, will see Norwich safe and takes comfort from the fact that four of their last seven matches are at Carrow Road, including the visit of ninth-placed Swansea.

He said: "Our home form will be important. We have to use that advantage with the tremendous support. We need to give them something to shout about. It is a very big game.

"Swansea are a very good side. They do make chances and will always be a threat. Their league position is fair, they deserve to be there. We just need to nullify the threats they have got. They can open you up. Michu is a real clinical finisher. There is no fluke in the goals he's scored this season."

Goals, four in the past 10 matches, continue to be a concern for Norwich, especially as top striker Grant Holt has not started the previous two games. Hughton, however, shrugged off any concern over Holt's form.

He said: "He will continue to be a big player for us whether that is him starting or being in the squad or coming off the bench. He is part of a squad that really wants to do well.

"We are very conscious of the stats. We know we need to be creating and scoring more goals. That takes pressure off everybody.

"But I am confident of being in the Premier League next season, that is our goal. Going into this stage of the season you want a good spirit and we have certainly got that here. There is nothing wrong with the determination.

"If we were to win on Saturday it possibly puts a different perspective on everything. It gives everyone a lift. That's how close the margins are. It's so important that you keep things in perspective. We expect to lose games. What is important is that you look forward to the next one.

"I have seen no indication around the place or on the training pitch that heads are down."

The centre-half, 20, has been one of Town's star performers in his breakthrough season at the Broadfield.

Manager Richie Barker told the club website: "We are in discussions with a few players and they are all progressing smoothly but with regard to Joe we are very close and should be able to confirm something in the next few days.

"Joe has really enjoyed his first season at Crawley and feels he has progressed since coming here in August. He's quite a quiet lad but I have to say for a 20-year-old there has been a real authority and composure to his performances this season.

"I don't think Joe expected to play as many games as he has but he has come on tremendously since he came to the club and he has been one of our most consistent players this season. I'm sure when the fans award their player of the season he will be in contention.

"He has also enhanced his international career by playing for Wales Under-21s twice this season and I know he is very highly regarded by the coaches in the Welsh set-up."

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