Elliott Hewitt has ‘huge potential’ says Paul Jewell

AMID concerns over the short-term nature of his squad, Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell insists he has a player of ‘huge potential’ in Elliott Hewitt.

The 18-year-old right-back was tipped for a summer move to a Premier League club following his eye-catching performances for League Two side Macclesfield last season, but top level interest cooled after it emerged that the junior Welsh international would have to undergo surgery on both hips.

That allowed Town to nip in and get him for what they perceived to be a bargain price of �150,000 this summer, with the youngster now starting to step up his training following months of rehabilitation.

“Elliott Hewitt is an athletic right-back that’s only played 10 games for Macclesfield Town, but we feel he’s got huge potential to go and be a really good player for us,” said Jewell, whose side don’t have a game this weekend due to the international schedule.

“He wasn’t really bought with this season in mind – whatever happens this season would be a bonus. Coming here and seeing how it works will be an education for him. “You never know, I might be saying in two weeks’ time that he’s come through and Carlos (Edwards) has picked up a knock and he’s going to play. I don’t know, but he’s one we’ve bought with the future in mind.”

Jewell insisted in the summer that he would try and minimise the number of 30-somethings and loanees in his squad as he looked to take a more long-term approach to rebuilding following continued quick-fix failures.

Just a few months later though and he has taken the number of loan players in the squad up to seven, with the experienced trio of DJ Campbell, Richie Wellens and Danny Higginbotham only due to be at Portman Road for a handful of weeks.

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The Blues boss, however, is keen to point out that the likes of Paul Taylor, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Scott Loach, Aaron Cresswell and Luke Chambers could form the core of a side for years to come.

“I have bought players that, hopefully, are going to be here for a long time,” said Jewell, whose side are second-bottom after claiming just seven points from their opening 10 league games.

“Bringing in loans is not ideal, I know that, but it’s the situation we find ourselves in. We’re not flush with millions of pounds to just go out and spend on whoever we want.

“We keep talking about this being a long-term project, though I know that doesn’t wash with a lot of people and I understand that.

“We’d like to go with younger, hungry players, but until we can get a foothold in this division and move forward to a stronger position, we have to go with experience.”