Long-term plan hasn’t been abandoned, insists Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell insists he hasn’t abandoned the long-term approach he promised supporters in the summer.
After a squad containing several ageing ex-Premier League players only managed a 15th place finish last season, the Blues boss promised he would be turning to ‘young and hungry’ players that would be at the club for years to come.
However, following just one win from the opening 10 games of the new Championship campaign, Jewell has decided to look for a short-term fix rather than keeping faith with a small squad that has been playing well but not getting results.
The arrival of keeper Stephen Henderson from West Ham earlier this week takes the number of loan players at the club to eight, with five of them only signing deals ranging in length from one to three months.
In addition, free transfer addition Nigel Reo-Coker has only signed a three-month contract, while 10 further players are in the final year of their deals.
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“We’ve not abandoned the long-term policy,” said Jewell. “We tried to get players in the summer and couldn’t get them. It’s difficult for supporters to understand. Sometimes it’s down to money, sometimes it’s down to other clubs, sometimes it’s down to players.
“Then you find yourself outside of the window and you have to look at loans instead. It’s not ideal, but that’s where we are at. I don’t know what people want me to do – not bring anyone in?
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“We want these players to become Ipswich players if possible. DJ Campbell is out-of-contract at the end-of-the-season, Reo-Coker we’d like to sign if things go well, while we’re talking to Stoke about a permanent deal for Danny Higginbotham.
“All of them are committed to the cause. They’re not just ships passing by – I see them all as hungry.”
With virtually no chance of signing Richie Wellens and Massimo Luongo from Leicester and Tottenham respectively, some Blues fans have questioned why such temporary additions are blocking the progress of the club’s own young players – especially as the likes of Luke Hyam started the season well.
“It’s difficult,” said Jewell, whose side are just one point above rock-bottom Peterborough. “We’ve got to try and put some daylight between us and teams at the bottom. Sometimes if you put too many young players in the team during this sort of pressure situation it can do more harm than good for them.
“We think Massimo (Luongo) is smashing, we’re pleased with Luke (Hyam), but we’ve just tried to get in some players that can get us through this sticky spell.
“Listen, to go longer-term, sometimes you have to go short-term.
“I understand the fans’ thinking, but nothing has been abandoned. You just have to have a Plan B. It would be great to have a whole team of 23 or under, but at the moment that just can’t happen.
“We don’t want to fill the club with loan players, we don’t want to fill the club with 35-year-olds, but for the situation at the moment, to lead us to a brighter future, I think we’ve got to go with quality players proven at this level.
“I know the next question will be, you did that with Jimmy Bullard, Lee Bowyer, Keith Andrews, but with respect there is a bit less age in this group. Age only becomes an issue when results go against us.”