‘Fans have vital part to play at Arsenal’ - Jewell
MAJOR cup semi-finals come around all too rarely and Ipswich Town are all geared up to make it a Red Letter Day at the Emirates tonight.
And over 9,000 Town fans will have a vital part to play when Paul Jewell’s side take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Tractor Boys are still rank outsiders to reach Wembley and play either Birmingham or West Ham in the final on the hallowed turf.
The Premier League high fliers will be favourites to see Ipswich off on aggregate in front of live BBC2 television cameras.
But hope springs eternal and Town were considered to be similar non-hopers before beating Arsenal in the 1978 FA Cup final.
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The Blue Army will be in good voice no doubt, and doing their best to make their presence felt over 50,000 home supporters on Ipswich’s first visit to the plush new north London stadium.
“We have more than a decent following and it will be terrific,” said Jewell.
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“On Saturday our supporters lifted the lads in the second half and didn’t get on their backs when we were edgy in the first period.
“Sometimes fans underestimate they part they can play – they are part of the overall team.
“They have a huge role to play between now and the end of the season – starting tonight when hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”
Jewell says that he feels a bit of a fraud having had nothing to do with wins against Exeter, Crewe, Millwall, Northampton and West Brom that has seen Town get to the brink of only their second Wembley cup final appearance.
“It’s down to the players and to Roy Keane and Ian McParland and Tony Loughlan who were in charge for the first leg,” said Jewell.
“The league is most important to us, but to get to a cup final would be brilliant.
“All I ask tonight is for them to show the same attitude as they did in the home leg, and if so there will no complaints whatever the result.”
Jewell was pleased with the character showed by the team during Saturday’s 3-2 Championship win over Doncaster Rovers and feels his team can build on that in a game where away goals count double at 120 and not 90 minutes.
Jewell has made an enquiry to loan Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard, 32, a player he signed for Wigan from Peterborough for �250,000 and sold for �3 million.
Hull are believed to be happy to let Bullard go and to contribute to his Premier League level wages with the player having over two years to run on his current contract.
Bullard, who has been on the bench for the last two Hull games, was set to move to Celtic last summer, but turned down the move and may be seen by Jewell as a replacement for Portsmouth target David Norris.