Scotland is worth his weight

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell is claiming a managerial masterstroke over the return to form of striker Jason Scotland.

Despite losing half a stone in weight this summer and impressing early on in pre-season, the 32-year-old found himself out of the picture at the start of the campaign and three weeks ago the Blues accepted a bid from Championship rivals Blackpool on transfer deadline day.

The Trinidadian – now in the last year of his contract and one of the higher earners at Portman Road – couldn’t agree terms with the newly-relegated Tangerines just days after an impressive goalscoring cameo in the 2-1 win over Leeds.

And on Monday night he proved he still has a big role to play for the Suffolk club with a fine all-round forward display in the 3-0 win over Coventry, netting the game-clinching third.

The sought-after striker’s infectious ear-to-ear smile is back, with Jewell insisting the allowance of transfer deadline day talks with the Tangerines was all part of a masterplan.

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“I gave him the opportunity to speak to Blackpool, but I didn’t think for one second that he could agree terms with them,” said Jewell.

“It was giving him a bit of a fillip, he was always going to stay here.”

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Following his �750,000 switch from Wigan, Scotland was a much-maligned figure among Ipswich supporters in his debut campaign and often criticised for being too immobile.

It must be remembered though that playing as a lone striker – which was where he was regularly deployed – is not his strength. And even then he was still able to finish the campaign as the club’s leading league scorer with 10.

Now playing as a forward partner to Michael Chopra, he has been able to fully utilise his best assets, dropping deeper to receive the ball to feet, holding off defenders and using his deft touch to bring team-mates into play.

“I think Jason deserves a lot of credit,” said Jewell. “He’s fitter than he was last year. He’s in better shape and he’s been great around the place. He didn’t start against Blackpool but he didn’t complain.

“He’s lighter than what he was last season, he’s three or four kilos lighter. He’s worked hard on his condition.”

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