‘It’s the three points we’re after - not stopping Norwich getting promoted’ - Jewell

VICTORY over arch rivals Norwich City in the Championship fixture in front of a near full house at Portman Road tonight will see Ipswich Town move to within three points of the play-offs.

And Town manager Paul Jewell today wiped away all the intensity and local pride that surrounds the game and emphasised the importance of a win that would gain revenge for a humiliating 4-1 reverse at Carrow Road earlier this season.

“I’d love to beat Norwich,” said the manager who has taken Ipswich from the brink of the relegation zone to within touching distance of the top six in just over three months.

“Not because it’s Norwich, but because it’s our next game.

“I know what a victory would mean to our fans and it does mean a little bit more for us.

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“But you get only three points as you would any opposition.

“However wonderful it would be to win tonight stopping Norwich going up is not what my priorities are.

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“This is to get Ipswich into a good position in readiness for what we want to achieve next season.

“We have got to be up for the game tonight, but cool headed at the same time and not let the occasion get to us.”

While Jewell takes a realistic view of his club’s league position the man who let his players recover earlier this week after their weekend exertions beating Bristol City with 10 men in high temperatures, has one eye on the play-offs.

“We have probably achieved more than we expected when we came in. The play-offs are still mathematically possible, but we are all realists.

“We will never give up, with 12 points to play for, but it’s going to be a Devon Lock situation that’s going to get us up there.”

The fitness of Grant Leadbitter, who was knocked cold before he hit the floor after a blow to the head last weekend, will be assessed today although he trained yesterday.

Jewell says that Gareth McAuley has agreed terms on a new contract, and went on: “We’re just waiting for Gareth to say ‘Yes’ to it. As far as I’m aware, everything is done.”

Jewell had a chat with skipper David Norris, who is another out of contract player in the summer, on Tuesday and added: “We are trying to get something done. I am desperate to keep my best players here.”

Brian Murphy and Colin Healy have been told through their agents that they have to get back by a certain date on their offers with Jewell ‘Pretty confident with those ones.’

HOW big is tonight’s game for you? If you could have one or the other would it be beating Norwich or gaining promotion? E-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

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