Leadbitter has been “unsettled” – Jewell

PAUL Jewell has admitted his skipper Grant Leadbitter has been “unsettled” by speculation linking him with a move away from Portman Road.

The Blues captain was subject to a bid from Championship rivals Portsmouth last month and many Town fans expected Leadbitter to move on before the transfer window closed on Wednesday night.

And after a series of underwhelming performances this season, the 25-year-old might have left Suffolk with the blessing of a percentage of supporters.

But Jewell has backed him to win over his doubters, saying: “I think he has been unsettled. In fairness to Grant, he cares greatly about his own game and the team. I think he is as disappointed as anyone and maybe he is just taking that disappointment out – but it is not a sulking thing.”

Despite wearing the armband, Leadbitter’s place in the Town midfield is far from guaranteed and he faces strong competition from the likes of Keith Andrews, Jimmy Bullard and Lee Bowyer.

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In fact, Jewell admitted that the issue of the captaincy was “overrated” and that he would have no problem with one of his loan players leading the side out.

The midfield dilemmas has seen Jewell shoehorn Leadbitter into an unfamiliar left midfield position. And on Saturday, he lasted just 52 minutes against Leeds United, watching from the dugout as the Blues came back to win 2-1.

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But after the transfer window passed without any Town players being sold, Jewell has pledged to try and thrash out a deal with Leadbitter who is in the last year of his contract.

Jewell said: “Both myself and Grant haven’t spoken about the contract. When you have been beaten five and seven, there are more pressing things to worry about than one player’s contract. All our energies were about getting a result.

“But we do need to sit down and have a chat and we will do soon.”

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