Jimmy Bullard will be glad to see the end of this season

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell hopes Jimmy Bullard will prove he is still a good player this summer.

This time last year, the 33-year-old was named the Blues’ Player of the Year after invigorating the team during an impressive end-of-season loan spell from Hull City.

The former Premier League player has disappointed both on and off the pitch since being signed on a permanent two-year deal though.

After putting in a string of underwhelming performances before Christmas, the charismatic midfielder was suspended for two weeks last month after turning up late to training following a late night out in Newcastle with team mate Michael Chopra.

His last start came in the 4-0 thrashing at Burnley back on November 29.

And he’s currently ruled out of action again with illness, just as he was at the start of the New Year.

The playmaker still has another year on his contract though. And Jewell says he will be given every chance to fight his way back into the team.

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“He came in on Friday and it looks like he has done 10 rounds with Bruno,” said Jewell, referring to the midfielder’s illness.

“He has got sinus problems. The poor lad has struggled since Christmas with illness and one or two other things as we know.

“Jimmy will be looking in the summer to start again as it just hasn’t happened for him. He is in his final year of the contract next year and we want him fighting for his place like everyone else.

“He doesn’t owe me, it is just about getting back in and concentrating on what he does best – playing football.

“He has had a bad year, which has been well documented, and he’ll be glad when this season ends.”

Jewell continued: “He is still keen, too keen sometimes. When he is not here, it certainly quietens the place down.

“He does love the game and he gets very frustrated and down when he is not playing. But he has to earn the right to get in the team.

“When he came last year, he played 17 games and got player of the year and supporters were desperate for us to sign him. It hasn’t happened for him since November, when he was a big part of that early run, but he will come back in the summer and he will always have a chance.

“He is not getting any younger, but Jimmy is one of those players who will probably still be running around when he is 45!”