Jewell gives his verdict on his Ipswich keeping situation
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell has expressed his satisfaction with the three keepers he expects to have on his books next season.
It promises to be a key season for Town as they look to end a long run of mediocre campaigns with a serious assault on a Premier League place.
Jewell has 2011/12 and 2012/13 to complete what club owner Marcus Evans brought him to Portman Road to achieve before his contract runs out.
He knows that he needs to make progress next term, and once he completed his initial function – to maintain Championship football – his efforts became focused on next season.
Marton Fulop, Brian Murphy and Arran Lee-Barrett are the three in line to keep the goals against column in reasonable shape and it’s a toss up who will be regarded as Jewell’s number one.
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Murphy and Lee-Barrett have still to sign contracts to take them beyond June 30, but offers have been made and they are expected to agree to stay.
Hungarian international Fulop has been between the posts for most of this season, but the fact that he has recently been replaced by Lee-Barrett suggests that Jewell still has reservations about the consistency of the �1.1million 6’7” stopper.
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Murphy was given a chance ahead of Fulop for a number of games in the autumn by previous manager Roy Keane, and the Republic of Ireland international has just recovered from a broken ankle.
Jewell has yet to show his hand with Murphy, but may consider him to be his first choice next season having tried to sign him when managing previous clubs.
Lee-Barrett was out in the cold this term until Murphy was injured, but he did not let the team down when forced into action last season by injuries.
And when asked to show what he could four games ago when Jewell wanted to assess him before making his mind up about offering a new deal the Ipswich-raised custodian has come up trumps.
“I’m happy with our three goalkeepers,” said Jewell.
“I’m not unhappy to have them. I have three goalkeepers who want to be number one, which is what I want.
“I don’t want people to just be happy being in the reserves, or being out of the picture.
“I’m quite comfortable having three on our books, though of course things can change over the summer.”
WHO do you rate as the number one Town keeper? Let us know – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.