Boss needs Michael Chopra to rediscover his confidence – and fast

PAUL Jewell has admitted that a confidence problem is the reason why Michael Chopra has not started the last three matches.

The striker has scored seven times in 23 league games but his last goal was more than a month ago in the thrilling televised 5-3 comeback against Barnsley.

Chopra’s dry spell in front of goal, aided by a general lethargy, comes as the manager fights to keep his job and the side battle against relegation.

The Blues boss, a former forward himself, admitted he has had no choice of late but to prefer Jason Scotland, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Nathan Ellington.

Jewell said: “Chops is low on confidence – that’s why he hasn’t been in the team of late. Certainly as a striker, confidence is a huge thing and certainly at the moment Chops isn’t playing with a huge amount.

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“He’s going through a spell, but he’ll come out the other side.”

While Chopra is Town’s second top scorer this season, his goals have come in clumps and he has too often gone too long without hitting the target.

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Off the pitch, his admission of his gambling addiction, and attempts to overcome the problem, appear to be weighing heavy on his mind when he takes to the field.

Jewell, who said he wasn’t aware of the scale of Chopra’s gambling problems when he signed him, added:

“He’s suffering on the pitch and, with his problems off the pitch, they’ve been compounded.

“It’s an ongoing situation for someone with an illness like him. Every day is a battle.”

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