Paul Jewell pays tribute to departing Ibrahima Sonko

A TERRIFIC professional, a good person to have around the club and a decent role model to youngsters.

That is how Paul Jewell today described Ibrhaima Sonko after the Blues boss made the “horrible decision” to release the experienced centre-back.

The 31-year-old made 20 starts this season, one from the bench, and even captained Ipswich at one stage.

But Sonko, who scored his one and only goal against Brighton in October, has been deemed surplus to requirements for next season – with Jewell hinting it was a financial decision.

The manager said: “Sonks has been a real terrific pro, a really good lad around the club. He came in at a time when we were really struggling for a centre-half.

“He always gave his best and he is a good model for the young players here with a good attitude. But budgets and money is less prevalent, especially at our club, and we have to make some tough decisions.”

And Jewell suggested there will be a few more ‘tough decisions’ over the coming weeks.

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He added: “Unfortunately for him, and one or two others, we have to make decisions on age, ability and wages. All these things are factors.

“It was a tough decision – but they are all tough decisions when you release people. It is a horrible part of the job. I have to be honest with them and make what I think is the right decision for the club.”