Paul Jewell prepares for battle with good pal Sam Allardyce

TWO old stagers will come head-to-head at Portman Road tonight when Ipswich look to pull off a shock against West Ham.

Town manager Paul Jewell yesterday paid a fulsome tribute to Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, the two being sparing partners in opposition dugouts for more than a decade.

Jewell said: “He is one of the north-west crew, I was at Wigan, he was at Bolton. He is a top fella Sam, me and him go back a long way.

“I was manager of Bradford, Sam was at Notts County. We were both moaning about our chairmen at the time. Peter Reid and Browny (Phil) – we’ve all been round the block.”

Jewell believes tonight’s opponents are destined for an instant return to the Premier League even if Hammers fans are not completely convinced by Allardyce. For them, and him, it has to be substance over style.

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But Jewell said: “He has done great (in management), he went to Bolton and revamped it. He is well respected. He has been talked about as a future England manager in some quarters.

“I have huge respect for him and the job he has done. He has taken a bit of flak at times but he is a big fella and it looks like he is going to take West Ham straight back up.”

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And the Blues boss is well aware of the threat posed by the league leaders – none more so than Kevin Nolan who scored a hat-trick for Newcastle on his last visit to Portman Road.

Jewell added: “He (Sam) rates Kevin, he had him at Bolton and then he took him to Newcastle and then West Ham. He has paid big money for me, but he has always done a great job and he has a terrible knack of scoring goals.”

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