MATCH PREVIEW: Paul Jewell’s message to his Town team: It’s time to get nasty

Ipswich v West Ham: They were the arch nemesis of Sam Allardyce’s West Ham team last season.

A dominant 1-0 victory at Upton Park was followed by a sensational 5-1 victory in January as Ipswich doubled the Hammers in two memorable performances last season.

But it mattered not.

As the Blues slumped to 15th in the Championship, West Ham celebrated promotion to the Premier League after a dramatic play-off final win in front of almost 80,000 inside Wembley.

Today, the Hammers have signed a �2.5 million defender in James Collins and are linked with a move for England striker Andy Carroll.

Ipswich, on the other hand, are relying on free transfers and cut-price deals. The difference could not be more stark as the two sides go head-to-head today in Town’s showcase friendly (3pm ko).

Many inside Portman Road will be watching the Blues for the first time in almost four months and Paul Jewell believes the match will tell him more about the mental strength of his current squad as they end a disappointing week of friendlies with a showcase match against Premier League new boys West Ham.

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Successive defeats to Luton Town and Southend United in the space of four days have set some alarm bells ringing among supporters.

And in their penultimate friendly before the season kicks off in little over two weeks, Jewell said: “It will be a good test and nice to play at Portman Road. I think you can get carried away with pre-season games though.

“I spoke to one manager who said they needed to get beat in pre-season because they’ve scored something like 17 goals and not conceded.

“I hate losing, no one likes it. But it is more important to find out about players. We have a lot of young players in the squad.”

Jewell didn’t hide his disappointment after the 2-1 defeat at Southend on Tuesday night – pledging to do all he could to bring in new faces before Blackburn visit Portman Road in the Championship opener.

We understand Doncaster Rovers wide-man James Coppinger is back on the radar, but it won’t stop the Blues boss from looking to improve the physical size of his squad.

Jewell said: “We need to bring in more quality and stronger players and also have a nasty streak. We had dozens of crosses coming in against Southend but I wonder if we have enough people in the team who really want to score or enough people who, when the ball comes in our box, are willing to stick a head in.

“We are a small team and it is something we need to address. I know Barcelona are a small team but we are no Barcelona.”

* Follow @davegoods and @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for all the news from Portman Road this afternoon