Mediocre no more

GRANT Leadbitter has praised Paul Jewell’s busy summer of spending– claiming the Blues have been nothing more than a mediocre team in recent seasons.

The Ipswich Town skipper feels the fresh experience within the squad and the competition for places is now paying dividends after Ipswich Town’s fantastic 1-0 win at West Ham.

The performance over the Championship favourites, which made it just one defeat in five as well as three consecutive clean sheets, has got fans dreaming of an exciting season ahead.

And Leadbitter believes the manager has to take a lot of the praise with Jewell’s dozen new recruits adding real depth.

The 25-year-old said: “Since I have been here, the team has virtually picked itself for the last two years. Now we have a lot of good players, with Premier League experience, and it is good to play with them – they make you a better player.”

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Leadbitter had come under scrutiny with the signings of Lee Bowyer, Jimmy Bullard and Keith Andrews putting his own place at risk and some fans calling for him to be rested.

But Jewell has kept faith in his captain and Town’s diamond formation currently allows the experienced quartet to all feature.

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The same competition also applies to the heart of the defence with Ibrahima Sonko and Danny Collins impressing everyone in recent matches, but fit-again Ivar Ingimarsson and Damien Delaney poised to take their chance when called upon.

Leadbitter added: “We did need the new players. We needed competition for places and that is something the owner and manager has always said.

“If you don’t have that, you are a mediocre team. Now every player knows they have to push themselves in training so it benefits everyone. You have to work hard and make sure you are playing well.”

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