Josh Carson offered new contract as Paul Jewell targets more youngsters

PAUL Jewell has backed up his words with actions after making a four-pronged attack to focus on youth at Ipswich Town.

The boss has admitted his transfer policy this season has been flawed with the ‘big names’ approach not working during a hugely disappointing campaign.

But to redress the balance, Jewell has offered young starlet Josh Carson a new three-year deal and revealed the three unnamed players he has bid for are all under 24 years old – including one teenager.

After a youthful Blues side – led by Carson, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Luke Hyam – produced a far more energetic performance in the 2-2 draw with Blackpool on Saturday, fans will welcome this assault on the younger end of the transfer market.

And they will be keeping their fingers crossed that there is no sticking point in the negotiations with Carson after the 18-year-old was offered a new contract that would keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2015.

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The Northern Ireland international was said to be initially reluctant to commit himself after failing to nail down a regular starting spot under Jewell. But the Town boss remains hopeful that he can convince the former academy player that his future lies with Ipswich.

Jewell confirmed: “We have offered Josh a two-year contract, with another year on top. We’re waiting to hear back from Josh and his agent but we’re hopeful that a deal can be agreed pretty soon.”

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And the emphasis on youth has continued after Jewell revealed the three bids he made over the weekend were all for players under 24 – two from the same club.

While refusing to be drawn on any identities, initial reports that Swindon duo Matt Ritchie and Paul Caddis were being targeted were yesterday shot down by Robins chairman Jeremy Wray.

The name of Southend’s Kane Ferdinand, cousin of Rio and Anton, has also been in the frame but Jewell would only say: “What I will confirm is that the three players are aged 24 and under.

“While we can’t sign every player under 20, we are definitely going to put the emphasis on bringing younger players to the football club.

“I’m on record already in saying that I got the balance wrong in terms of the number of older players we brought in. We need experience in the side and in the squad but looking forward and for the long-term future of the club, we will be focusing on younger players.

“The three players we have made bids for fall into that category, in fact one is a teenager.”

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