Hyam’s contract offer wasn’t on the basis of one performance

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell says midfielder Luke Hyam wasn’t offered a new one-year contract extension on the basis of his performance against Blackpool last weekend alone.

The 20-year-old – currently in the final year of his contract – had looked to be on his way out of Portman Road after failing to make a single Championship appearance for the club during Jewell’s first year in charge.

The former Northgate High School pupil started Town’s 3-1 defeat at Hull City in the FA Cup earlier this month due to a host of players being unavailable and put in a tidy performance.

However, he was then promptly dropped from the 16-man squad that went to Birmingham four days later.

A fresh injury to Grant Leadbitter meant he was put back in the side for the visit of Blackpool last weekend though and he performed well alongside Andy Drury in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

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Jewell has responded by offering him a fresh one-year deal.

“It’s not just because he played well Saturday, I just thought it was a reward for what he’s done,” said the Blues boss.

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“I think he deserves a lot of credit, Luke Hyam. He’s been not near the team and sometimes he hasn’t got a game in the reserve team this year either.

“I had a chat with him before Christmas and told him to keep going, that you don’t know what’s around the corner, he might get his chance and if he does to make sure he’s ready.

“I tell you what, he’s an example to anyone out of the team. He’s got his head down, he’s worked harder than he’s ever worked – he’s in the gym, he’s out on the pitches.

“I just thought it would be nice to offer him another year so we could see how he progressed.”

The about turn on Hyam follows on from 20-year-old striker Ronan Murray signing a one-year contract extension this week, just days after Jewell admitted he had been considering a transfer bid from League Two club Swindon Town for the Irishman.

“I’m entitled to change my mind,” said Jewell. “I considered it (the bid from Swindon), then reconsidered it and decided we’d like to give him another year.”

The Blues boss has also said he is hopeful 18-year-old winger Josh Carson will take up the offer of a new three-year deal within the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s prospective new owner Joseph Cala is reported to have pulled out of his move to take over at Fratton Park, something which could have a bearing on the Blues’ attempt to sign Pompey pair Jason Pearce and Joel Ward.

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