As Ipswich Town close in on eighth loanee, how Paul Jewell’s words have not been backed up by his actions
“WE have to start getting in players that are going to be here for the next three or four years rather than just one year who may be past their best.
“I am happy to go along with a building a squad rather than, like last year, just having players who have played at the level above. We now have youngsters who are hungry to play at that level above.”
So said Paul Jewell eight weeks ago as he backed his babes ahead of the new season.
What a difference two months can make.
On-the-pitch, Town have struggled since the manager spoke prior to the encouraging 1-1 opening day draw with Blackburn Rovers.
Off it, this has led to an under-pressure Jewell putting his “long-term strategy” on the back-burner in favour of bringing in seven loan players.
West Ham keeper Stephen Henderson is set to raise that number to eight when he completes his loan move today while free agent Nigel Reo-Coker is a temporary player of sorts, having only signed for three months.
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The former Aston Villa and West Ham midfielder, like Henderson, Danny Higginbotham and DJ Campbell, will undoubtedly make Town stronger and should see them move away from the bottom three sooner rather than later.
But at what price? Of the eight loanees, Richie Wellens is leaving in a matter of weeks while Higginbotham’s current deal is also set to expire – though Jewell is “hopeful” of extending it.
Another three will go in January with the chances of signing most of the eight looking unlikely, meaning Jewell will once again have to go on a transfer merry-go-round in the New Year and then again in the summer.
The Blues boss has now signed five players in the last 10 days.
It is obviously not something he foresaw after saying in August: “We have had loan players here who have just been with us for part of the season, and that is difficult.
“If we can get players coming in for the season, I think that is a little bit different to players coming in from window-to-window.”
The dire start to the season has obviously dictated a drastic change in policy.