Old heads are still required, says Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell
PAUL Jewell says experience will still have a key part to play next season.
The Ipswich Town boss admits that he signed too many players “who were maybe past their best” last summer, with a number of the 30-something, ex-Premier League players whom he brought to the club set to depart over the coming weeks.
Lee Bowyer, Ibrahima Sonko and Richard Wright will all join Ivar Ingimarsson in being released, Mark Kennedy is hanging up his boots, while Nathan Ellington has been told he can ‘move on’ by his manager.
Jewell’s priority is to bring in some young and hungry players who can hopefully form the core of a side for years to come.
However, with at least six signings required to bolster a squad which has suddenly become quite thin on the ground, he has not ruled out the addition of one or two older heads too.
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“I think last year I brought in too many who were maybe past their best,” admitted Jewell, whose ageing team at Bradford was once nicknamed his ‘Dad’s Army’. “Now we need to look on the younger scale.
“Never underestimate experienced players though. If you can get two or three in your team that can settle the young ’uns down they are worth their weight in gold. It’s about getting the balance right.”
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When sixteen-year-old Byron Lawrence came on for the final 10 minutes of Ipswich’s season finale at Doncaster he became only the fourth non-loanee player aged 21 or younger to make their Town debut during Paul Jewell’s season-and-a-half in charge.
Aaron Cresswell and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have shown huge signs of promise, but Josh Carson made just six starts this season.
By contrast, former Blues boss Roy Keane gave nine youngsters their first taste of first team football during a similar period of time. Six of those – Troy Brown, Tom Eastman, Billy Clark, Reggie Lambe, Shane O’Connor and Ed Upson – departed under Jewell’s management, while Luke Hyam, Jack Ainsley and Ronan Murray have found game time hard to come by during the current regime.
Joe Whight wasn’t deemed ready to make his Championship bow during his first season as a professional, while Callum Bennett – the only academy player to be offered a pro deal this summer – has turned down the contract in favour of finding a lower league club that might offer him more opportunities, something Caolan Lavery also decided to do.