Andrews praises Town’s squad strength

The starting line-up might not have changed for the last six unbeaten matches.

But Keith Andrews has paid tribute to the patient squad players who made such an impact against Portsmouth in midweek.

Nathan Ellington and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas formed a new partnership upfront with the scoreline still goalless while Damien Delaney came on for the injured Ibrahima Sonko and showed characteristic strength in defence.

Manager Paul Jewell yesterday admitted that Ellington and Delaney were in his thoughts to start against Crystal Palace tomorrow.

And the pair – as well as JET – have been backed by Tuesday night’s match-winner Andrews who admits the Blues’ strength-in-depth is keeping everyone on their toes.

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The Republic of Ireland international said: “I know the starting 11 has been the same for six games, but it is not just about that 11.

“It is about the players that come on and I thought they had a massive impact against Portsmouth. Damien has had to be patient and bide his time, but I thought he was fantastic and very solid when he came on and JET and Nathan were a handful as well.

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“You are never going to pick the same 11 for the next 30-odd games so it is important we have a good squad and a good togetherness – and we have that at the moment.”

Along with Michael Chopra, Andrews is Town’s joint top scorer with five goals and Jewell admitted he would like to extend the midfielder’s half-season loan, whether on another temporary basis or securing a permanent move.

Jewell said: “We’re always planning about scenarios and thinking ahead. We just try and keep a few of our plans in-house if we can.

“He (Andrews) has done really well for us. He has shown a lot of desire, he drives people on and his goals have been a terrific bonus for us.

“The more games we win, the more chance we’ve got of signing him. Come January, we’d like to keep the same team that we’ve got together at the moment.”

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