Come and feel Bullard’s ‘noise’ as Derby await
JIMMY Bullard gets ready to kick-start his football career tonight with a very strange endorsement from his manager ringing in his ears.
Just two-and-a-half years ago, the world appeared to be at Bullard’s feet with an England call-up and then a �5million move to Hull City.
Now the injury-ravaged midfielder is hoping to make only his sixth start this season after a miserable time at Hull ended with him joining Ipswich on loan last week.
And despite the paltry number of appearances, Paul Jewell has revealed his “freak of nature” new capture could go straight into the starting line-up against the manager’s old side Derby County tonight.
Jewell said: “Jimmy will give us noise. He is a quality player and he will give us enthusiasm and that little bit extra to what we have already got. He is one of those lads who is a bit of a freak of nature as far as fitness is concerned.
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“He could get up and play golf, have a game of football, go training and go fishing and still have loads of energy. I don’t think fitness will be a problem. I had a chat with him today about probably trying to do too much, too quick, but you are not going to change him.”
Despite complimenting his midfield following a great comeback against Doncaster and brave defeat against Arsenal, Jewell could be tempted to throw Bullard straight into the side to give a creative edge to the graft of Grant Leadbitter and David Norris.
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The manager admitted yesterday that he is expecting a hot reception at Pride Park – the first time he has gone back to the club since ending a turbulent reign which included the worst ever season in Premiership history.
“Derby is a great football club with great supporters,” said Jewell. “When I took over in the Premier League, we had five points from 14 games. It was a tough time. I think I made a lot of mistakes at Derby, although it wasn’t all my fault.
“I probably tried to change things too early and I lost my temper. I am trying to be a lot nicer and a bit more patient.”
While Bullard is hoping for a start, fellow new signing Andy Drury was signed too late for tonight’s squad against a Derby side who have won just once in 10 games – prompting renewed speculation over the future of manager Nigel Clough.
Like their opponents tonight, Derby have endured a rollercoaster season thus far after impressing at the start – including everyone inside Portman Road when they comfortably beat Town 2-0 in November.
But the pressure is now on Clough and his side who have been weakened in the transfer window by the �300,000 departure of playmaker Kris Commons to Celtic.
Jewell could decide to keep faith in his Emirates heroes, but the likes of Mark Kennedy and Colin Healy might miss out with Bullard coming in and Lee Martin returning after he was cup-tied for the Arsenal clash.
After voicing concerns about Town’s attacking prowess – shown by the unsuccessful chase of Charlie Austin – Jewell could also decide to go with two upfront against struggling County.
DERBY COUNTY: Bywater, Brayford, Barker, Savage, Bailey, Addison, B Davies, S Davies, Bueno, Porter, Deeney, Roberts, Pearson, Cywka, Green, Pringle and Doyle.
IPSWICH TOWN: Fulop, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O’Dea, Kennedy, Norris, Leadbitter, Healy, Bullard, Wickham, Priskin, Peters, Scotland, Brown, Smith, Civelli, O’Connor and Lee-Barrett.