Jewell wants to squash the Watford hoodoo

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell wants to kick the Watford bogey tag into touch when the Hornets visit Portman Road for a Championship fixture tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

It was back in March 2004 when Town last beat the Hornets and last season in the corresponding fixture after dominating the game they were denied by a late Nathan Ellington equaliser.

“I’ve been told about Watford’s hold over Ipswich,” said Jewell.

“And sometimes you can look at a player who always appears to score against a certain club or clubs.

“But this goes out of the window when the players go on to the pitch and they don’t think about it too much beforehand.


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“We have two home games this week and will be searching for six points, and to get three off Watford is the immediate aim.”

Mark Kennedy should be fit to be available for selection after training at the weekend and again yesterday following a hamstring problem.

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Colin Healy is still not recovered from his stomach muscle tear and skipper David Norris remains suspended, but otherwise Jewell has no further injury problems.

He will be looking for more goals after netting only four goals in the last six games, and Jewell added:

“I made changes Saturday with Tamas Priskin in attack. I’m always thinking about changes.

“But it’s unfair putting too much pressure on the attackers’ shoulders. As a team we should be creating more with central defenders contributing at set pieces as well.”

Jewell is expected to start with loanees Kieron Dyer and Jimmy Bullard in midfield alongside acting skipper Grant Leadbitter and on a decent playing surface that could provide a feast of football for home fans.

But Jewell is not going to take any chances with Dyer, explaining: “It’s important that we don’t expect too much as he’s been out for a long while.

“Patience is the key and if we edge him back to full fitness he can do well for us – he showed his class on a poor pitch at Leeds on Saturday.

“I’m sure he’ll get a good reception tonight and hopefully play well as part of a team that wins three points.

“Kieron played at right back when I came to Portman Road as Bradford manager and lost 3-0. He was 19 and outstanding, but has been playing catch-up in recent years after a badly broken leg.

“Hopefully we’ll not talk about his injuries. But talk about what he has done for us on the pitch although with his injury record we have to be careful.”

Jewell saw Watford ‘murder’ Championship leaders QPR earlier in the season so knows how tough it will be tonight.

“They have pace, a terrific manager and Danny Graham, who has 23 goals and scores all types of goals. He’s a good player.”

Gareth McAuley has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Serbia and Slovenia on Friday March 25 and Tuesday March 29..

DO you believe in football hoodoos? Let us now – e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

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