Jewell: Reserve football is poor

PAUL Jewell has played down fears over a lack of reserve team league football claiming his huge squad will benefit more from his current ‘as and when’ policy.

The Ipswich Town manager might have serious misgivings about the standard of reserve fixtures on a national level.

But he is comfortable with the Blues’ current programme of invitational training matches against the likes of Colchester United, Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham.

And he insists that these types of “high-tempo” matches will ensure fringe players like Nathan Ellington, Andy Drury and Luke Hyam are ready to make the step-up to the Championship when called upon.

In addition, the current situation has afforded Jewell a behind-closed-doors look at Ibrahima Sonko, Richard Wright and a number of trialists in recent weeks.

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Jewell said: “Reserve football in this country is poor - the games don’t do anything for anyone. Some of the games I have been to are played in stadiums where the pitches aren’t great and the players don’t want to be there.

“I’m not a big believer in reserve football. You can have a reserve team win a league and their first team down the bottom – that tells me that the reserves are poor.”

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Town pulled out of the Totesport Football Combination East Division after last year lifting the title against the of Southend United and Luton Town.

After pencilling in forthcoming matches against both North London giants, Jewell said: “Last season, we were travelling to Luton, Oxford and Stevenage, opposition which, no disrespect, were not that great.

“We have had three high-tempo training games recently which we have got a lot more out of than any reserve league match. Now we are going to play QPR, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham.

“We invite clubs and they approach us for matches and we are not short of people wanting to play us. This opportunity just suits us at the moment.”

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