EXCLUSIVE: Town first-teamer breaks ranks...we let Paul Jewell down but now a new man is needed – and fast

GET a new man in – and quick.

That is the message today from inside the Ipswich Town dressing room after a member of the first-team squad broke ranks in the wake of Paul Jewell’s departure.

The first-teamer, who did not want to be named, told this newspaper that the players were “devastated” by the mutual decision to release Jewell from his contract and that they shouldered the blame.

He insisted there was no rift in the camp but that every effort must now be made by owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg to quickly find a replacement.

The source said: “To be honest, the lads are devastated. You can’t put the blame on the manager – we have let ourselves down on the pitch.

“I thought in the summer, and still think, that the squad is good enough to be promotion candidates but things this season have not started the way I expected.

“We have to remain positive and a win on Saturday is crucial. We have a great bunch of lads and if you could see us in training day-in and day-out, you would see we are a tight unit.

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“There was no rift in the camp but now this has happened, we need to get a new manager in sooner rather than later.”

After a dramatic and public statement questioning his own ability for the job on Saturday, Jewell’s exit was all but sealed on Tuesday night after he failed to turn up for the post-match press conference in Tuesday night’s defeat by Derby County.

It was confirmed by the club yesterday lunch-time with Jewell praising the support of Evans and Clegg over the last 21 months.

The ex-Blues boss said: “We all know that football is a results business though and I’ve never hidden from the fact that our results have not been good enough.

“It’s been a privilege to be manager of such a fantastic football club. I want to thank the staff and the supporters for the backing they have given me in my time at the club and wish Ipswich Town the best.”

The club have confirmed that Jewell’s number two, Chris Hutchings, will be in charge for Saturday’s must-win match against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road.

And Hutchings, who faced the media in Jewell’s absence on Tuesday night and will once again this lunch-time, has been assured he will have the backing of the dressing room.

The source added: “The lads have got to be professional and pull together. We will all be behind Chris Hutchings – he is a great guy and a great coach.”

It might be Hutchings’ one and only match in charge with the smart money being on Evans and Clegg appointing a new man in time for the trip to Birmingham City a week Saturday.