Jimmy Bullard and Grant Leadbitter face a fight to regain their Ipswich Town places

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell is set to stick with his team of youngsters and fringe players for tomorrow’s visit of Middlesbrough.

Following wins over West Ham (5-1) and Coventry (3-2), the Blues are chasing a third successive win for the first time this season.

And the Blues boss says experienced players such as Jimmy Bullard and club captain Grant Leadbitter – both of whom played for the reserves against Leyton Orient on Tuesday – will have to work hard if they are to replace the likes of in-form duo Luke Hyam and Andy Drury in midfield.

“Every player wants to play, but we’ve had two really good results and it’s difficult to change the team,” said Jewell.

“If I felt it needed freshening up I would do it, but we haven’t had a settled side too often this season and I think the lads that are in the side at the moment are there on merit.


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“There’s no problem with Jimmy Bullard and Grant Leadbitter. They’re not doing cartwheels at being out the side, you wouldn’t expect them to be though.

“They’re senior players that are out the side and who will have to fight their way back in.

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“Michael Chopra (who has now scored three goals in two games after failing to start the opening five matches of 2012) has shown that you can force your way back in by training well.”

Injury-hit Middlesbrough – who went out of the FA Cup to north east rivals Sunderland on Wednesday night courtesy of a late extra-time goal – are yet to win a league match in 2011.

Ipswich Town have slashed ticket prices by 25% for the game – the lowest they have been for seven seasons – in an experiment to see how many extra spectators it will bring through the turnstiles.

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