Andrews and Blackburn ‘hold the aces’ – Jewell

PAUL Jewell has admitted that negotiations have begun in a bid to keep Keith Andrews at the club.

But the Blues boss has warned that the Republic of Ireland midfielder and his parent club Blackburn Rovers “hold all the aces” over any permanent deal.

Andrews has become a firm favourite at Portman Road with his all-action style coupled with an unexpected eye for goal – the midfielder is currently Town’s second top goalscorer with five goals.

Ironically, his performances for Ipswich – and his starring role in helping Ireland qualify for the European Championships over the last few days – might now make him hotter property.

Jewell said: “Keith’s agent has been in touch with the owner (Marcus Evans) and we would love him to stay if a deal can be done.

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“We have got another five or six weeks until his loan is up, but I have spoke to Marcus and we are definitely keen to extend it.

“Whether Blackburn are keen is another thing. They might look at him scoring goals, doing well for Ireland, and want him back in their team. They hold all the aces - Blackburn and the player. It is basically in their hands.”

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But any chances of a reunion between Rovers and Andrews seems unlikely with reports from Lancashire suggesting Blackburn would like to sell him in January and the player himself continually distancing himself from any future at Ewood Park.

One stumbling block might be the size of any fee with Andrews still having a year-and-a-half left on his deal at Blackburn and the Premier League side unlikely to sanction anything but a permanent deal.

Jewell added: “We would like to do it and we are pulling out all the stops to do it. But it is difficult when you are dealing with Premier League clubs.

“We will try and do a deal but we are not there yet – there is a lot of speaking to be done.”

Andrews is expected to line up for Town against Nottingham Forest on Saturday after helping Ireland to Euro 2012 via a two legged play-off victory over Estonia, scoring in the fantastic 4-0 away win.

He will now be focusing on helping the Blues bounce back from a three-match winless run, possibly alongside the fit-again Lee Bowyer and Jimmy Bullard, who many will be demanding improvements from after a poor recent spell.

And Jewell said: “Jimmy has not been at his best but no one is at their best all of the time.

“We have been beaten by some teams who have done their homework on us, so maybe we need to be better and change things. But it is 11 v 11 on Saturday and whatever 11 we put out, we will be competitive.”

n Read Dave Gooderham’s thoughts on Paul Jewell’s transfer options in January at

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