JIMMY BULLARD EXIT: Paul Jewell is already searching for another central midfielder

IPSWICH Town are expected to announce Jimmy Bullard’s departure from the club today – and already manager Paul Jewell is searching for a replacement.

The Green’Un understands that the Blues are on the verge of concluding a mutual agreement with the 33-year-old midfielder regarding a release from his contract one year early.

Hailed as the returning Messiah by supporters this time last year following an impressive loan spell, the dressing room joker has endured a spectacular fall from grace over the final 12 months.

And with the veteran desperate to play football, a compromise deal – similar to the one which saw Ivar Ingimarsson, Tamas Priskin and Colin Healy leave the club early last season – is set to be struck.

Starting only 13 games in 2011/12, last summer’s “free agent” could end up costing the club around �750,000. He is not expected to feature in this morning’s official squad photo.

The departure of one of the club’s top earners will give Jewell some extra room for manoeuvre in the transfer market though, with the Blues boss still keen to add at least two or three more new faces to a squad he feels lacks strength in depth.

And despite already having Luke Hyam, Massimo Luongo, Andy Drury, Ryan Stevenson, Byron Lawrence and potentially triallist Cheick Kourouma as centre midfield options, Jewell says that is an area he is looking at adding to.

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“Luke and Massimo have been exceptional in the last two games and at the moment I’m very happy with those two,” said the Blues boss.

“I want competition for places, though, and that’s one area where I’m looking to improve the squad.”

Jewell has consistently reiterated his desire to add some physicality to his side, with imposing 6ft 5in tall Senegalese international Papa Bouba Diop – a free agent after being released by West Ham – the latest name to have been linked.

– Paul Jewell is set to speak to the press about Jimmy Bullard at today’s Open Day. Keep an eye on his website for all the latest news.