Has Marcus Evans already started his search for Paul Jewell’s replacement?

PAUL Jewell is set to remain as manager of Ipswich Town for tomorrow night’s visit of former club Derby County to Portman Road – but is owner Marcus Evans already searching for his replacement?

The Blues boss arguably made his position untenable by publicly revealing such public self-doubts in the wake of Saturday’s limp 2-1 defeat at Hull City – a result which leaves Town winless in 10 matches and four points adrift of Championship safety with almost a quarter of the campaign played.

Admitting that he had begun to question whether he was ‘the right man to take the club forward’ will hardly inspire his confidence-shot players into turning things round during a crucial double-header of home matches against Derby and Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday) this week – ironically two clubs where Jewell failed spectacularly as manager.

However, as exclusively revealed on this newspaper’s website yesterday lunchtime, it is understood he will carry on as Blues boss following an evening of soul-searching at his family home in Leeds, a lengthy chat with Evans, followed by an appearance at Playford Road yesterday to watch the club’s Under-21 side in action.

Town chief executive Simon Clegg has always spoken of an unspecified ‘tipping point’ regarding a change in manager. And while owner Evans as given Jewell numerous votes of confidence throughout his largely disastrous 21 months in charge – the most recent coming little over a fortnight ago – he has set a precedent when it comes to the swift appointment of a new man.

Roy Keane was appointed within a day of Jim Magilton being sacked, while Jewell was unveiled within three days of Keane getting the boot.

Not yet clear whether Jewell was convinced to stay or simply felt re-invigorated following a spell of soul-searching, the under-pressure Blues boss is set to face the press at lunchtime today for his regular pre-match press conference. For all the latest news, keep an eye on this website.

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– For more comment and analysis, see today’s EADT and Ipswich Star.