Jewell’s recipe for success
PAUL Jewell is following the recipe for success to a tee at Ipswich Town – but what ingredients are still missing?
Having hauled the Suffolk side away from the relegation zone following his appointment back in January, the Liverpudlian recognised that his squad needed more than just a touch of salt and pepper if they were to be up to scratch next time around.
Experience, goals, aggression, creativity and flair have been added already with the seven signings so far.
This is what has been thrown in – and out – of the mix:
KEEPER: Out has gone Brian Murphy and Ian McLoughlin, in has come David Stockdale (loan from Fulham) to provide competition to Arran Lee-Barrett and Marton Fulop. The latter has had a couple of shakey moments in pre-season and now faces stiff competition from a player who was named in an England squad earlier this year.
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DEFENCE: Following the loss of Gareth McAuley on a Bosman to West Brom, as well as the departures of squad players Tom Eastman and Troy Brown, the Blues’ back four was severely depleted.
New left-back Aaron Cresswell (Tranmere) will provide some youthful competition to veteran Mark Kennedy at left back, while the experienced Ivar Ingimarsson (Reading) goes some way to filling the centre-back void.
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The latter has missed all of pre-season with a thigh injury though, leaving just two fit central defenders in Damien Delaney and Tommy Smith – both of whom are left-footed. Jewell will undoubtedly make strengthening this position his top priority.
MIDFIELD: Box-to-box man David Norris and captain (Portsmouth, free), has been replaced with the experienced Lee Bowyer – the Blues beating numerous clubs to the former Birmingham player’s signature. He should bring some much-needed aggression to the Town team.
Bowyer will almost certainly be partnered by Grant Leadbitter in the middle of the park with those two sharing the captaincy in pre-season thus far.
Competition comes from Andy Drury, Colin Healy and Luke Hyam, with Jewell still looking to add another central player if possible.
WINGS: Depending on where Jewell plays new boy Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Arsenal), this is another area the manager may still seek to strengthen.
With Luca Civelli out of form following his return from a lengthy injury, Lee Martin – who has looked very lively in pre-season matches – and Josh Carson are the wide men currently in possession of the shirts.
Jaime Peters and Carlos Edwards have both had brief stints on the right of midfield in recent friendlies, but the latter will probably be needed at right-back with the former seemingly out-of-favour.
STRIKERS: Michael Chopra has shown signs that he can be Town’s 20-goal-a-season man following his summer arrival from Cardiff, having already notched up two braces in a Blues shirt. Presuming Jewell goes with a 4-4-2 formation (the experiment with a 4-5-1 didn’t work at Southend) it is then a case of one other.
With teen star Connor Wickham having made a big-money move to Sunderland, the choice is currently between Jason Scotland, Nathan Ellington and Tamas Priskin.
Jewell could use Emmanuel-Thomas in a free role behind Chopra (his favoured position) or may well try to sign a target man. He has already admitted he is looking at Sheffield United’s Ched Evans.
The big question is: Just how quickly can Jewell blend his recipe to perfection?