Jay Emmanuel-Thomas faces a fight for his Ipswich Town future

JAY Emmanuel-Thomas faces a fight for his Blues future as Mick McCarthy slowly begins to mould his own squad.

The 22-year-old attacker has frustrated since his �1.1m switch from Arsenal, showing flashes of his brilliant trickery, power and shooting, but more often than not drifting out games for long periods due to his languid style.

This time last year the enigmatic Londoner made no apologies for his approach to the game, telling the EADT: “I spend life just walking around laid back, that’s just how I am and people will get to grips with it in time.”

Jewell once said that Emmanuel-Thomas ‘goes from world beater to panel beater’, but that will not cut it with new boss Mick McCarthy – a manager who constantly demands ‘hard graft’ every single one of his players.

Only recently the Blues boss had some damning words for the flair player that’s nicknamed JET, saying: “He’s Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to me. I’ve told him I’ll call him JET when he looks like he’s got a rocket up his backside.”

Having been restricted to nine substitute appearances during the new managerial regime, Emmanuel-Thomas was finally given his first start under McCarthy in the third round of the FA Cup at Aston Villa last weekend.

Starting on the right-wing, he was moved up front after 25 minutes as McCarthy felt that he wasn’t putting in enough of a defensive shift. And while fringe players such as Elliott Hewitt, Scott Loach and Michael Chopra grasped their opportunity with both hands, Emmanuel-Thomas was substituted on the hour mark.

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Jewell used to play Emmanuel-Thomas in an advanced wide role and had the youngster do additional conditioning work alongside fitness coach Andy Liddell in the summer. McCarthy sees him as a striker though and has had assistant Terry Connor – a former forward himself – working with him on an individual coaching plan.

The arrival of strike duo David McGoldrick and Aaron McLean on loan means Emmanuel-Thomas is now the fifth-choice front man at the club, with Michael Chopra and Daryl Murphy also ahead of him the pecking order.

And with the Blues boss having not given up hope of bringing recent loanee DJ Campbell back to the club on a permanent basis this month, Emmanuel-Thomas will have to up his game as the final year of his contract fast approaches.