Danny Higginbotham draws on Nottingham Forest past as Paul Jewell again looks for loan ranger rescue at Barnsley
Barnsley v Ipswich: A loan player may well have saved his job at Barnsley last season – now, somewhat ironically, Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell is hoping another temporary addition could have the same impact upon his return to Oakwell today.
It was Keith Andrews’ quickfire brace soon after half-time which proved the catalyst for the Blues’ incredible 5-3 comeback win in this fixture last December, with Jewell this week admitting he feared the sack when his side trailed 2-0 at the break and were left staring down the barrel of an eighth straight defeat.
Today, he goes back to South Yorkshire on the back of another vote of confidence from owner Marcus Evans following a run of five defeats from six and just two league wins from 13.
And, with confidence increasingly brittle and his two first choice strikers both injured, the Blues boss is hopeful that new loan signing Danny Higginbotham can provide some much-needed leadership at the back.
“We’re hoping he can bring that bit of added experience to us,” said Jewell, speaking of the 33-year-old Stoke centre-back, who has arrived at Portman Road on a month-long loan. “You talk about standing up, being counted and being a man – well Danny is all those things.”
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Former Manchester United trainee Higginbotham endured relegation from the Premier League at both Derby and Southampton, but the man who has amassed more than �6m in transfer fees did play a influential role in helping Nottingham Forest escape the drop during a loan spell at the Championship club last season.
“I had been there a week and the owner (Nigel Doughty) passed away,” recalls the commanding defender, who came on as an emergency striker for the last few minutes of last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Charlton but will start at centre-back today.
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“The club was four or five points adrift and in all types of turmoil, but I don’t think Ipswich are anywhere near that situation though. It’s still very early in the season.
“What is similar is that, like at Forest, I have walked into a dressing room and seen a great group of players and a manager who has got things going the right way – it’s just a case of getting that one result to turn things around.
“You need a bit of luck along the way and, at Forest, we got that and suddenly started to believe in ourselves.
“We all have to stick together and do the right things. If we do, I firmly believe things will turn round. I don’t see any reason why this team can’t shoot up the league.”