Paul Jewell orders players to cut summer holidays short

PAUL Jewell will put his players through a punishing summer training regime in an attempt to turn them into serious Championship contenders.

The Town boss knows the importance of starting next season off with a flyer – both for his side’s chances of promotion and his own hopes of securing a new contract in what is currently his last year at the club.

But with a mammoth 11-week break between the last day of this season and the start of the 2012/13 campaign, Jewell is happy to play the role of Mr Unpopular at Portman Road – ordering his players in for three days a week over the summer, before the official start of pre-season training.

The manager explained: “It is a long old break this year so they will have their holidays and then they will be in three days a week.

“We have to give them three weeks consecutive holiday but giving them eight or nine weeks off is not an option. We are just going through that now but the players will be in intermittently throughout the summer for their own good.”

When asked how the decision had gone down with his players, Jewell joked: “I am sure the wives are delighted.”

But the Town boss knows he has to make the tough – and often unpopular – decisions to give Ipswich fans every chance of celebrating a return to the Premier League next season.

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This year marks a decade since the club last played in the top tier and they face the very real threat of being the Championship’s longest serving team if Coventry City are relegated to League One.

In the face of such grim statistics, Aaron Cresswell admitted the players accepted Jewell’s tough training regime if it meant a tilt at the top next season.

Cresswell said: “We understand the decision. It is down to the manager, we get paid by the club and have to abide by it.

“He (Jewell) will run us hard but we have to be in the best shape possible for next season.”