Jewell could make two Ipswich Town changes at Ashton Gate
NOT a manager for making unnecessary changes, Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell is in line to make two alterations to his line up for tomorrow’s Championship visit to Ashton Gate to play Bristol City (kick-off 3pm).
One would be enforced if a recurrence of a hamstring problem rules out left back Mark Kennedy with on-loan Celtic defender Darren O’Dea ready to come in.
The other would be tactical with Connor Wickham proving in the final 32 minutes of Tuesday’s 3-3 home draw with Middlesbrough what a productive through-the-middle striker he can be.
The 18-year-old scored one goal with a text book bullet header from a Jimmy Bullard free-kick and was denied a hat-trick by two tremendous saves by Boro keeper Paul Smith.
His goal threat was greater than anything Town achieved for the first hour when Jason Scotland was battling away up front on his own and Wickham was patrolling the flanks along with fellow teenager Josh Carson.
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If Wickham was to move up front from the start it would mean a return to the starting line-up of Lee Martin, who showed up well in the latter stages winning a 75th minute penalty from which Grant Leadbitter levelled the scores.
Jewell is well aware that Wickham will end up playing as an out-and-out striker, but with the players currently at his disposal he has felt it tactically beneficial to play him wide.
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Having had an injury-free second half of the season and a long run in the side, Wickham has scored eight goals since Jewell’s arrival in early January.
Another player also set to make an impact tomorrow when Town look to continue their good away form with just defeat on the road since the middle of January is on-loan Bullard who was at his sparkling best on Tuesday and is building a flourishing midfield partnership with Leadbitter and David Norris.
Queens Park Rangers are reported to be interested in taking Bullard onboard for their Premier League campaign next season with the 32-year-old has earning regular rave reports since moving to Portman Road from Hull on loan.
Jewell has already confirmed that he would like to keep Bullard next season although the player’s reported �42,000 a week wages could well be a stumbling block.
Former Ipswich striker Jon Stead has started the last two Bristol City games on the bench while on-loan forward Andy Keogh has returned to parent club Wolves for treatment on a back injury after scoring one goal in nine games.
Ipswich won 2-0 in the corresponding game last August and will be seeking their fifth double of the season having already beaten Sheffield United, Doncaster, Cardiff and Crystal Palace home and away.
Tomorrow’s likely squads
Bristol City: James, Nyatanga, Stewart, McAllister, Spence, Elliott, Skuse, Cisse, Woolford, Clarkson, Adomah, Pitman, Campbell-Ryce, Maynard, Edwards, Johnson, Gerken, Stead, Wilson.
Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, Kennedy, O’Dea, Carson, Leadbitter, Norris, Bullard, Martin, Wickham, Scotland, Fulop, Peters, Drury, Civelli, Healy, Hyam. O’Connor.
Referee: Mr R Booth (Nottinghamshire)
Ipswich league record at Ashton Gate
P25 W6 D4 L15 F29 A52