Paul Jewell wants to sign at least three defenders

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell wants to sign at least three defenders this summer.

Full-backs Aaron Cresswell and Carlos Edwards – who have missed just one game each this season – came first and second respectively in the official Supporters’ Club ‘Player of the Year’ awards on Saturday night.

But while the Blues have come on leaps and bounds defensively in the second half of the season, a 3-0 defeat to Millwall at Portman Road at the weekend shows there is still much work to be done.

Cresswell limped off with a bad hamstring injury, with Ibrahima Sonko – set to be released when his contract expires in June – the only defender on the bench.

Veteran left-back Mark Kennedy will hang up his boots in the summer to become a coach, while young right-back Jack Ainsley has just one Championship start to his name and young left-back Joe Whight has yet to make his first-team debut.

Speaking in the build-up to the game, Jewell said: “At times this season we have got by. Our two full-backs have not been injured and they have arguably been our two best players, certainly the most consistent.

“We have been fortunate, but we are not going to be fortunate all the time. We need cover for someone who can play left-back or right-back and we need a couple of centre-backs.”

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And with those comments coming back to haunt him little over 24 hours later, the Blues boss said: “Aaron’s pulled his hamstring pretty badly we think. I suppose if there’s any good time to get injured it’s now, but it’s a shame because he’s had a terrific season.

“We know we need to strengthen in the summer and, as I said last week, one of the areas we need to strengthen is cover in the full-back area.”

Jewell could yet decide to reignite his attempts to sign Portsmouth duo Jason Pearce and Joel Ward, with Pompey boss Michael Appleton saying: “I think Jason is certainly one of the assets we have got on the field of play and I will be very surprised if he is here next season.

“He and Joel Ward have attracted offers from the Championship this season so you would think they’ll go. You wouldn’t have to be a brain surgeon to work that one out.”