Paul Jewell relishing his side’s underdog status
Ipswich v Blackburn: Blues boss Paul Jewell is relishing his side’s underdog tag heading into this afternoon’s Championship opener against newly-relegated Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road.
Following a drastic change in transfer policy this summer, the Blues head into a new campaign with one of the youngest and smallest squads in a league that looks stronger than ever.
And with little expectation weighing on his players’ shoulders heading into an 11th consecutive campaign in football’s second tier, Jewell believes his team could thrive.
He said: “Just look at Blackburn’s team. They’ve got Paul Robinson, Givet, Scott Danns, Murphy, Etuhu, Gomes, they’ve bought Best for �3m who’s injured, they’ve got Pederson, if he plays, David Dunn is there.
“It’s a plethora of names, but at the end of the day it’s eleven against eleven.
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“They’ve got a lot of experience and a lot of quality players, but we’ve got a lot of enthusiasm and some good players ourselves. As long as we compete, do what we’re good at and give it our best shot then you never know what could happen.
“We’ve probably got the smallest squad in the division, but it’s a really honest squad and a really enthusiastic bunch of players. As a manager, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
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He continued: “It’s a long old slog of a season and I think it’s going to be tougher than ever this year, but we’re full of optimism and enthusiasm. Both myself and the players are looking forward to.
“It’s been strange this week with the season starting with a cup game, but I’ve still got that buzz and the butterflies in the stomach that I got when I first started playing 25/30 years ago.”
– See today’s EADT for full match preview.