New boy Ryan Stevenson has impressed Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell says he has been impressed with the way new boy Ryan Stevenson has settled, but says Saturday’s visit of Middlesbrough comes too soon for the Scottish international.
The 27-year-old midfielder made his switch from cash-strapped Hearts to Town shortly before the January transfer window closed, for a fee believed to be around �50,000.
And on Tuesday he made his first appearance in an Ipswich shirt, playing the majority of 4-1 reserve team win over Leyton Orient at the club’s Playford Road training ground. It was his first game since December 17 – the date he went on strike at Hearts over unpaid wages.
“He did okay,” said Jewell, when asked about Stevenson’s performance in a supporting striker role just in front of Grant Leadbitter and Jimmy Bullard. “I think he was blowing a bit because that was his first game since the 17th of December and he knows he’s got to be patient.
“I’ve been impressed with his attitude – he’s delighted to be here and it’s good to see. He’s a terrific lad and he’s really determined to prove himself here.”
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And joking about the heavily inked player, Jewell added: “I think he’s already thinking about getting an Ipswich tattoo!”
Town have just one injury doubt ahead of Saturday’s visit of Middlesbrough – managed by former Blues favourite Tony Mowbray – with veteran midfielder Lee Bowyer still struggling with a groin problem.
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“He’s had three or four days training, although that’s been difficult because of the weather,” said Jewell. “I think he’ll need at least another week with the first team before he can be considered. Other than Lee though, everyone else was 100%.”
Following victories over table-toppers West Ham (5-1 home) and rock-bottom Coventry City (3-2 away), Ipswich are chasing a third consecutive win for the first time this season.
Middlesbrough – who were knocked out of the FA Cup by rivals north east Sunderland thanks to a late extra-time goal on Wednesday night – are without a host of key players due to injury and are yet to win a league game in 2011.
Ipswich Town have reduced ticket prices by 25% for Saturday’s game – the lowest in seven seasons – in an experiment to see how many extra spectators it brings through the gate.