Paul Jewell praises Town forgotten man Tommy Smith

HIS last performance in an Ipswich shirt lasted just 71 seconds.

But New Zealand international Tommy Smith can seek comfort in words of praise uttered by Paul Jewell.

Smith’s chances of breaking back into the Blues first team have been strengthened a little by Danny Collins’ departure – even if Jewell is likely to start with best pals Ibrahima Sonko and Ivar Ingimarsson for the first time against Leicester City on Boxing Day.

But Jewell hasn’t given up on the 21-year-old who featured in the first five games of the season before that infamous, quick-fire red card in the 7-1 televised drubbed at Peterborough United.

Smith was introduced at half-time but was sent off just 71 seconds later for a professional foul. He has not featured in a Town matchday squad since,

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But Jewell said: “Tommy’s a terrific professional and works his socks off every day in training.

“You forget he’s only 21 because he seems to have been around a while. He has to keep working and needs to play games.

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“His contract comes up in the summer and he needs to push on.”

Smith is fighting for his Ipswich future as he is among the pool of players out of contract at the end of the season.

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