Jewell to decide on out-of-contract players soon

A NUMBER of younger Ipswich Town players who are out of contract in the summer are set to be told their fate shortly.

Blues manager Paul Jewell watched his second string beat Southend United 4-0 at the Playford Road training ground yesterday when 10 players whose contracts end on June 30 featured.

“It is only fair on the players to let them know soon where they stand,” said Jewell.

“It gives them a chance to try and get sorted for next season.

“So I will be making a decision shortly on the younger players at the club.”

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In total Ipswich have 21 players who are out of contract in the summer with the more senior ones like David Norris, Gareth McAuley, Damien Delaney and Carlos Edwards due to be offered new deals when there is confirmation that the Blues will be playing in the Championship next season.

Although impressed with his youngsters in their last three reserve league games with wins over Oxford, Colchester United and Southend, Jewell has reservations.

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He went on: “With respect the standard of opposition has not been that strong and the lads have not been really tested.

“It is something we are looking at improving on next season.

“Although I was moving into a house yesterday I was at the game to cast an eye over our young players. It is important to get things sorted soon.

“It would be nice to get some of them out on loan so that they can widen their football education and perhaps Paul Sturrock might take one or two to Southend.”

Only Shane O’Connor and youngster Josh Carson do not have professional contracts that expire in June from the side that began against Southend with Dave Crawley coming on for the second half to replace Luke Hyam.

Keeper Arran Lee-Barrett looked sound while Jack Ainsley scored two goals and Troy Brown and Tom Eastman were strong at the back.

Conor Hourihane often caught the eye in midfield with Ronan Murray and Carson caused a Southend side that included front-running trialists Sam Higgins and Lee Boylan and has Sturrock looking on many problems.

O’Connor could feature in the first team squad for Saturday’s home Championship game against Portsmouth after impressing against Southend with Colin Healy likely to miss out and with Grant Leadbitter having suffered recent hamstring twinges and David Norris almost certainly out again.

O’Connor was man of the match in his last senior game in the snow against Leicester pre-Christmas and has since suffered a shoulder injury and from appendicitis symptoms.

Talking about Healy’s injury, Jewell explained: “Colin felt something go in his stomach and it looks like a strain.

“It’s disappointing because Colin has been doing well for us, but it’s very likely he will be out for the weekend.”

Jewell has confirmed that his former Wigan and Derby chief scout David Hamilton is joining his Portman Road staff.

“He’s going to help us in the scouting department, working alongside chief scout Steve McCall and myself.

”I worked with him at Wigan and Derby and I’m delighted to have him here.”

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