BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Bullard to be handed attacking free role?

JIMMY Bullard could be handed a more attacking free role as the Blues look to recover their pride in front of the nation.

The last time Sky television turned the spotlight on Town, it ended in a public humiliation with Peterborough whacking seven past shell-shocked Ipswich.

Now they have an early chance to restore some faith and much-needed confidence when Monday night football arrives at Portman Road for the visit of Coventry City (7.45pm kick-off).

And manager Paul Jewell is seriously considering throwing the shackles off Bullard and giving him license to roam just behind Michael Chopra in a free role.

The 32-year-old has largely played a withdrawn midfield role since arriving on a permanent deal as he looks to build up his match fitness.

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But the Evening Star understands that Bullard has been pushed further forward in training with Jewell hoping his playmaker can unlock the Sky Blues defence,

It comes after Bullard apologised to some of his team-mates for his display against Blackpool in the 2-0 defeat in Town’s last match.

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Right-back Carlos Edwards revealed: “He is the biggest critic of himself. He is the one who came in after the Blackpool game and said he’s not match fit.

“It’s hard because he wasn’t playing on a regular basis at Hull and then he came here and he was thrown straight in.”

And Bullard’s midfield partner Lee Bowyer added: “Everyone is disappointed. Jimmy knows when he has done well or not done well – we all do – he’s a big enough man to know that.

“Fair play to him, but there are a few of us who are trying to get to the level that we know we can and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

Elsewhere, Jewell is likely to have a fully-fit squad to pick from with Lee Martin completing the last match of his suspension.

With the back four likely to remain the same, the manager’s biggest selection headaches will come in deciding the best formation to start with and who plays in midfield.

Grant Leadbitter or Bowyer could be vying for the final central midfield spot with Josh Carson or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas hoping to get the nod on the right wing.

Coventry, who won their first league match of the season last weekend, are likely to keep the same 10 outfield players who began that game.

The only change could be in goal after Joe Murphy was forced off at half-time and Chris Dunn replaced him.


Ipswich Town: Stockdale, Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell, Carson, Leadbitter, Bullard, Andrews, Murphy,

Chopra. Lee-Barrett, Delaney, Ingimarsson, Bowyer, Scotland, Emmanuel-Thomas, Ellington

Coventry City: Dunn, Christie, Crainey, Keogh, Hussey, Bigiriama, Clingan, Bell, Baker, McDonald, Jutkiewicz. Murphy, Cameron, Thomas, McSheffrey, O’Donovan

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