Paul Jewell keen to prevent another Ipswich Town anti-climax
PAUL Jewell is desperate for today not to be another Ipswich Town anti-climax.
A bumper crowd is expected at Portman Road for the visit of Middlesbrough this afternoon thanks to the club slashing ticket prices to their lowest in seven seasons.
Many disillusioned stay-away supporters will return – especially after Town’s thumping 5-1 home win over West Ham last week – and it’s up to the Blues to convince them to keep coming back.
With Tony Mowbray’s injury-hit visitors without a league win in 2012, there is certainly a golden opportunity for Town to record three successive victories for the first time this season.
However, Jewell knows that both his side – and those of his predecessors – have developed a nasty habit of suffering stage fright on such big occasions.
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“We don’t want the balloon to be pricked,” said the Blues boss. “We know that, in the past, whenever we have pulled in a bigger crowd or started getting on a run, we’ve let people down.”
Average attendances at the 30,311 capacity Portman Road have decreased steadily over the last seven seasons, dropping from 24,251 in 2005/06 to just 18,531 this campaign.
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“You can’t underestimate how much the supporters can help the team,” said Jewell.
“They’ve had to watch, to be honest, some pretty poor football from us at times. But despite the bad results they’ve kept on coming – home and away – and we’d love to reward them.
“You can see by the crowds we continue to get, despite not pulling up any trees, that it’s a club that could easily be pulling in over 25,000 a week if we were at the top end of the table.
“We’d love to be playing at a packed Portman Road every other week. I’ve brought teams here in the past and believe me the atmosphere plays its part when it’s packed out. I’d love to bring those days back.
“I know it’s a tough economic time and people have to be careful which games they can go and watch. I honestly haven’t got a bad word to say about out supporters – they’ve been brilliant.”