Paul Jewell heaps praise on Lee Martin after midfielder’s brace in 3-0 win over Cardiff City

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell heaped praise on two-goal hero Lee Martin following a 3-0 win over high-flying Cardiff City at Portman Road.

The direct-running midfielder – who is in the form of his life playing an advanced central role – opened the scoring with a calm side-footed effort in the 20th minute after the visitors had dominated the opening exchanges.

Town took charge from then on though and, after Michael Chopra netted his fifth goal in four games to make it 2-0 quickly after the restart, Martin toe-poked in from close-range in the 73rd minute to seal all three points. It was his fifth goal of the season.

“He’s found a little role within the team,” enthused Jewell. “Me and Lee have had our ups and downs, that’s been well documented – he’s been ill-disciplined at times – but I think he’s maturing as a footballer.

“He’s taken a bit of a lead role in our team. I’ve got nothing but praise for him; he’s working hard, added goals to his game and playing with supreme confidence and energy.

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“He’s a focal point of our team at the moment.

“I also thought Daryl Murphy was excellent today. I thought his work-rate and industry – both on and off the ball – was superb.”

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This is the first time Town have won four games in a row since October 2004. This latest victory – their fifth from their last six games against Cardiff – lifts them up to 16th in the Championship table and 11 points off of the play-off places.

It was also the first time Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay had suffered defeat against Ipswich in 14 meetings as manager and player.

“It was a good result against one of the top teams,” said Jewell. “There was a 15/20 minute spell at the start of the game where we had to ride our luck a bit, but overall I think we were worthy winners.”

Responding to the ninth minute incident in which keeper Arran Lee-Barrett was only booked for fouling Joe Mason outside the area, Jewell said: “I’ve only seen it live but my initial reaction was ‘get your gear off Alex’ (referring to sub keeper McCarthy).

“The ball was going quite a bit wide though and the linesman had quite a good view on that side.

“Maybe we were a bit fortunate, but there have been plenty of times this season where we haven’t had the run of the green.

“We had to dig in for 20 minutes at the start, we were resolute, had a bit of good fortune, but once we scored you could see the confidence in the team.”

He continued: “You can see how hard we’re working. It’s starts at the front with Michael Chopra, Daryl Murphy and even Jay Emmanuel-Thomas!

“You can see that the crowd warm to that – it’s the least that they expect.

“We’re a difficult team to play against at the moment because we’re in peoples’ face and have got athleticism through the team.

“Since the West Ham win the confidence has been up, but I have to say I thought in the previous three games against Blackpool, Birmingham and Leeds we’d shown signs of turning the corner.”

The Championship’s leakiest defence has now kept back-to-back clean sheets, with Jewell saying: “Whatever back four has played this year has made basic individual errors and cost us goals. Some months ago I guess we would have conceded during that dodgy spell in the first half, but we’re now playing with confidence and belief and desire.

“The back four have been vilified at times this year, but you defend as a unit rather than as individuals.

“We’re defending and attacking as a team at the moment and look like a decent team.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for more reaction.

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