‘Don’t miss out on Ian Holloway for a third time’ – Ronnie Mauge’s message to Ipswich Town

IPSWICH Town have to go all out to lure Ian Holloway to Portman Road from Championship rivals Blackpool.

That’s the opinion of Ipswich-based Ronnie Mauge, the midfielder who flourished under Holloway’s early career management at Bristol Rovers.

Holloway has been linked with the vacant managerial positions at a quartet of Championship clubs – Blackburn, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Ipswich – and has refused to completely quash the speculation, claiming that his contract at Bloomfield Road is ‘not fair’.

Blues chief executive Simon Clegg said last week that the club would not baulk at paying compensation for an in-work manager, with Holloway’s contract reportedly including a buy-out clause believed to be around �400,000.

Mauge – a former Trinidad and Tobago international who also worked under Neil Warnock at Plymouth – said: “I told people at Ipswich Town that Ollie was the man for the job when Jim Magilton left and I did the same when Roy Keane left. Just look at how his career has gone from strength to strength since then – they have to go all out to get him this time.

“It’s pretty clear that Ipswich need a man-manager and believe me, as someone who played under him, there is no-one better than Ollie in that respect. He knows when to give his players a rocket and he knows when someone needs an arm around their shoulders.

“He’s worked superbly on small budgets throughout his career because his big strength is getting the best out of his players.”

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He continued: “I remember when we just missed out on the play-offs at Bristol Rovers. He sank to his knees and cried at the final whistle. His passion and enthusiasm is infectious.

“Don’t forget he has a great track record of bringing through some great young talent too. People like Jason Roberts, Bobby Zamora and Marcus Stewart, they all progressed under Ollie when I was working with him. Now he’s got kids like Tom Ince and Matt Phillips coming through at Blackpool.”

Mick McCarthy remains the bookmakers’ favourites to replace Paul Jewell at the Championship’s rock-bottom club, but reports that he has already signed a three-year deal appear to be premature.