Jewell explains his substitute policy
IPSWICH Town fans are sure to give the effervescent Jimmy Bullard a warm welcome when he makes his home Blues debut in their Championship fixture against Sheffield United at Portman Road today (kick-off 3pm).
And if the 32-year-old starts he has every chance of lasting the full 90 minutes.
Manager Paul Jewell has made just one substitution in the three league matches he has been in charge of with Jason Scotland replacing Mark Kennedy late on at Millwall on January 15.
Before the wins over Doncaster Rovers and Derby County, Ipswich had gone six years using at least one substitute every game.
If Jewell keeps his substitutes on the bench again today it will be the first time a ‘hat-trick’ of games without any changes has occurred since the matches against Wimbledon, QPR and Tottenham in August 1994.
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Explaining his policy, Jewell said: “I select what I think is my best team.
“With seven players available to come on you have almost too much choice.
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“It’s too easy to see a mistake and think ‘Get him off’.
“I like not to rush it, and to make substitutions when I see it as being relevant.”
And talking of Bullard, who could be joined in the final 18 by fellow newcomer Andy Drury today, Jewell added:
“He is a bubby character, but it is his influence on the pitch that will be the most important thing.
“We have quite a quiet dressing room, and Jimmy is certainly not a quiet character.
“He’s a very positive person and in the two or three years I was managing him at Wigan he never missed a training session and you certainly knew he was in.
“There has been talk about wages, but Jimmy will have a positive part to play here.”
Former Town skipper Matt Holland has backed the signing of Bullard and according to Hull paying around half his reported �45,000 a week wages.
“Jimmy’s presence is costing Ipswich a fair bit each week but I have a funny feeling it will be money well spent,” said Holland.
“He is one of the game’s bubbliest and best characters and given the low morale at Portman Road following their struggles this term the introduction of such a cheerful lad is worth its weight in gold.
“Sometimes a dressing room needs a person like Jimmy to come in and have a laugh with them by sparking up some fresh banter and knowing him as I do, you can be sure that’s going to happen!
“But he isn’t just a cheerleader. He also happens to be a classy player who can make things happen in the middle of the park.”
Damien Delaney is set for his 50th league appearance for Town today having netted one goal.