Jewell reveals league position delaying new contract offers

PAUL Jewell today gave every indication that key Ipswich Town players David Norris, Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney will get their wish and be offered contract extensions.

Along with 19 others including Carlos Edwards their current deals run out on June 30 and when the January transfer deadline passed they all effectively became available to move on for free.

But Jewell confirmed that the hesitancy has been based on concerns over the Blues dropping down to League One because of the subsequent reduction in income this would produce.

“As things stand at the moment we must ensure that we win enough points to be safe from relegation,” said Jewell.

“I’m pretty confident that we will be okay.

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“Once we know where we will be next season we can sit down and make decisions.

“At the moment we are moving in the right direction, but we still need a lot of points and there is a lot of hard work ahead in the coming weeks.

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“If the players concerned carry on as they are we will offer them more money to keep them.

“But so might other clubs to sign them – so it’s a win, win position for them.”

It’s certainly somewhat of a gamble by Ipswich as deals that Norris and McAuley may have accepted in December if they had been higher might be out-shone by offers from rival clubs in the spring with Portsmouth and Crystal Palace known to still be very interested in Norris and West Ham in McAuley.

Ipswich will be seeking a third consecutive Championship win when they take on Sheffield United at Portman Road today (kick-off 3pm) – the first time they will have achieved this since the final three matches of 2008/09.

“There is definitely more belief in the squad,” said Jewell.

“And less fear. In my first game in charge at Millwall we also had three in midfield yet we tended to hump the ball rather than play it through the middle.

“We have played more football since, which is progress.

“Sheffield United will be tough, but when you have won two games on the bounce you look forward to the next one.

“We’re not getting carried away and want to improve further. I was told when I was a player at Liverpool that you should never be satisfied – and it’s true.”

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