Jason Scotland has clause in his contract – but will be picked by Ipswich

PAUL Jewell has insisted his hands are not tied by Jason Scotland’s messy contract situation.

The 32-year-old will automatically get a new one-year deal, believed to be on the same wages, if he makes six more league starts this season.

Most fans view Scotland as Town’s top striker at present and his impact off the bench in Saturday’s FA Cup match at Hull further proved his importance to the club’s cause.

While Jewell admitted yesterday that Michael Chopra was low on confidence and Nathan Ellington has struggled to convince supporters, Scotland has done more than most to try and shift Town away from the threat of relegation.

And the manager said a clause in the striker’s contract – which runs out this summer – would have no bearing on whether Scotland was picked, even revealing that he would be leading the line against Birmingham tonight (7.45pm ko).

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Jewell said: “There is a clause that kicks in after 19 games – there are a few players who have clauses in their contracts.

“It is not something the owner has said, don’t play him, and I’m not going to not play him. He will be playing tonight and I will pick the team I think is best.

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“We are not exactly in the situation where we can pick and choose. Clauses in people’s contracts don’t even come into it – I’m just thinking about getting results.”

While mindful that other clubs might have to think carefully about similar situations – Blackburn Rovers recently refused to play striker Jason Roberts when he reached a new contract threshold – Jewell believes this won’t be a problem for Town.

But he again maintained that every player has his price – including Scotland who has five goals to his name this season.

Jewell said: “If an offer comes in for any player, whoever that player is, and we think it is an acceptable offer, we would consider it. That’s football.

“I’m not thinking of moving Jason Scotland out at the minute but I could get back to my office and have a phone call from a club that wants to buy him and that could change.”

Town will start with new keeper Alex McCarthy in goal against Birmningham but face a host of selection dilemmas with Damien Delaney, Lee Bowyer and Jimmy Bullard all expected to miss the vital match.

We understand Ipswich will start with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas playing behind Scotland.

Assuming Sean St Ledger either doesn’t sign in time or opts to move elsewhere, Tommy Smith will start with Ibrahima Sonko in the heart of the defence.

Elsewhere, Andy Drury and Luke Hyam will be vying to partner Grant Leadbitter in centre midfield while Jewell must choose between Josh Carson, Lee Martin and Daryl Murphy for the two wide spots.

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