Keep it settled or time to experiment? – the Ipswich Town selection debate
TEAM selection debate rages among Ipswich Town fans as the end of the season nears.
With little to play for over the remaining four games, should manager Paul Jewell give some of his fringe players and youngsters game time – the likes of Josh Carson, Luke Hyam, Jimmy Bullard, Nathan Ellington, maybe even Joe Whight and Byron Lawrence – and drop those who may not be at Portman Road next season?
Daryl Murphy is only on loan, while serious question marks remain over the future of soon to be out-of-contract duo Grant Leadbitter and Lee Bowyer.
Or should he stick with the settled side which has built up some decent end-of-season momentum, hoping that it will roll over into the start of the next campaign?
An impressive 28 points have been taken from a possible 45. And nine players – Carlos Edwards, Tommy Smith, Damien Delaney, Aaron Cresswell, Andy Drury, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Lee Martin, Daryl Murphy and Michael Chopra – have started at least 12 of those last 15 matches.
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It was therefore rare that Jewell made four changes to his line-up for Monday’s 2-1 home defeat to Leicester as attacking quartet Lee Bowyer, Ryan Stevenson, Josh Carson and Jason Scotland came into the team as Drury, Martin, Emmanuel-Thomas and Chopra were rested.
“We might change things around again because we did look a little bit tired against Leicester,” said Jewell, ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace. “As I said before though, we take every game seriously and I don’t want to just give out shirts willy-nilly.”
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Blues right-back Carlos Edwards said: “The manager might try a few different things but he doesn’t want to make changes just for the sake of guys getting games.
“At the end of the day, fans are paying money to come and watch football – they aren’t coming to watch us experiment with players. They would love to see the young players get a run out, but I think they would be more interested in seeing us get three points.”