Jewell does not want Wickham to burn out

DUBBED the water-carrier by his boss, Connor Wickham will NOT play every game between now and the end of the season.

DUBBED the water-carrier by his boss, Connor Wickham will NOT play every game between now and the end of the season.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell is planning to give his 17-year-old star the “odd breather,” to avoid a case of burn-out or the threat of a wear-and-tear injury. But not just yet.

Jewell has a few injury concerns, ahead of his first midweek home game under the Portman Road lights, against in-form Reading this evening.

But Wickham, despite taking a couple of knocks in the last couple of games, is not one of them. He is all set to keep his place tonight, which is bad news for the play-off chasing Royals.

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After playing a full 13 games on the bounce, from the first whistle to the last, Wickham was finally substituted during stoppage time in Saturday’s superb 2-0 win at Cardiff.

“I brought Connor off at the end, and then he decided that he didn’t want to come off, but I think he was quite tired,” explained Jewell yesterday.

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“He’s played a lot of games in a short space of time, for a young lad, and playing not in his favourite position (left wing rather than as a striker). So we have to be careful, because although he’s fit and strong, he’s still young.

“We have to keep an eye on fatigue, though he’s going to be OK for this game.

“He’s playing in an unglamorous position, like a water-carrier fetching and carrying up and down the line. He and Lee Martin (fellow winger) are doing a great job for the team.

“But somewhere along the line, I might have to give him the odd breather, here and there. We will see about that. I don’t want you to feel sorry for him, but this is the longest amount of football he has had in one hit, and it’s a tough league. But he will play against Reading,” confirmed Jewell.

Before Wickham started the first of his current 14-game sequence, in the 1-0 home defeat by Nottingham Forest on January 3, he had only played one full 90 minutes all season under previous boss Roy Keane.

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