My current Ipswich Town squad are no mugs, insists Paul Jewell

IPSWICH Town could see a quartet of transfer deals fall through before tonight’s 11pm deadline – but manager Paul Jewell is not panicking.

The Blues head into this evening’s home game against Championship table-toppers West Ham firmly embroiled in a relegation battle following a return of just eight points from a possible 45.

And supporters are concerned that failure to strengthen a back five which continues to leak goals at an alarming rate will quickly see Town sucked into the drop zone.

A move for a trio of Portsmouth players – believed to be keeper Stephen Henderson, centre-back Jason Pearce and versatile right-back Joel Ward – as well as teenage Falkirk defender Murray Wallace, hang by a thread with just hours to go until the window closes.

“It’s critical to get the right ones,” said Jewell. “It would be easy to get players that wouldn’t improve us but you need to think, okay, if I can’t get the right players in this window can we get through to the summer and get them then?

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“We have to remember that it’s not as if we’ve got a team full of mugs at present. We’ve got a team that hasn’t produced its best on enough occasions to get us the points over the course of the season. It’s still a squad that can be full of good players though.”

Portsmouth last night released a statement which revealed that the club’s funds had been frozen by HMRC following an unpaid tax bill of �1.6m, and that player and staff wages would not be paid for January.

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Jewell said: “We made bids for three Portsmouth players last week, it was rejected but the clubs are still talking. Whether we get one, two or three is in the air.

“It’s difficult because we don’t know who we should be speaking to there – the administrator or the chief exec. Complicated is not the word.”

And speaking of Wallace – the Blues understood to have had a �300,000 bid accepted on the proviso that the teenager would be loaned straight back to Falkirk – Jewell said: “He’s been down here to look around, but I know he’s talked to Brighton and he’s going to look at a couple of places after us. We’d like him here, but whether that happens is down to a lot of factors.

“We do have alternatives for the loan market, but ideally I want to bring in players that can be here for the long run.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full Town v West Ham match preview.

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