Paul Jewell ready to walk the Bosman tightrope again

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell admits the Blues’ poor form has forced him into playing the same risky contract game he vowed never to repeat.

Town turned down bids totalling nearly �1m for key duo Gareth McAuley and David Norris from Crystal Palace last January, only to lose them on Bosman free transfers come the end-of-the-season.

Jewell later insisted that he would not leave contract renewals so late in the season again, however, he currently has 18 players within in the final seven months of their deals.

Captain Grant Leadbitter turned down one extension offer earlier in the season, while the likes of Jason Scotland, Carlos Edwards and Josh Carson are all in the same position.

When asked if negotiations with any of his players had advanced in recent weeks, Jewell said: “To be honest, no.

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“No-one has been knocking on my door and the agents haven’t been ringing me. It must be a tough time for agents actually, trying to get their clients a new deal when the team has just lost seven on the bounce.

“We were offered �600,000 for David Norris by Crystal Palace before the (January) deadline day and I think �350,000 for Damien Delaney – but we turned those offers down, even though we thought the players might go in the summer.

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“We just felt it was imperative we kept those players if we were going to stay in the division.”

When reminded of his ‘never again’ comments back in the summer, Jewell admitted: “I did say that. And we’d like to get some long-term players in so that we don’t have this issue every season.

“I’ve brought in a lot of loan players and players on shorter term contracts so I accept the responsibility if things go wrong.

“I think the players have realised that the most important thing is to get out of this relegation fight first and then to see what happens with contracts.

“It’s going to be difficult to manage, but that’s what I’ve got to try and do.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT and Evening Star for full match preview.

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