Scotland must stay at Town
JASON Scotland must surely stay at Ipswich Town.
Manager Paul Jewell can ill afford to let the experienced marksman leave Portman Road at this moment in time, unless a ready replacement is found.
Wanted by Championship rivals Swansea City, on a loan deal, Scotland turned the spotlight away from his short-term future and towards his goal-scoring prowess on a pudding of a pitch in a 1-1 draw at Barnsley on Saturday.
The 31-year-old ex-Wigan striker, on as a substitute for the final 16 minutes, obliged with his eighth goal of the season to put Town 1-0 up on 83 minutes.
Alas, it was not enough to secure a fourth straight league win, because Jacob Mellis’s deflected shot, with virtually the last kick of the game, rescued a point for the Tykes.
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Jewell’s attacking options are decidedly limited at the moment. Tamas Priskin operated as the lone striker at Oakwell, before making way for Scotland, while Connor Wickham again operated on the left wing.
The only other natural striker, teenager Ronan Murray, is currently struggling with a thigh strain, and even more crucially, leading scorer David Norris faces a spell on the sidelines.
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Skipper Norris hobbled off after just 15 minutes with a twisted ankle and knee. His nine goals from midfield have been priceless this season, and his expected absence, for a few games at least, will put more onus on the likes of Scotland to keep scoring.
Jewell insisted: “I’d rather him (Scotland) be in the spotlight for scoring goals. He’s our player, and unless something else happens, I expect him to continue in this professional manner. He’s come on and scored a goal, and played well, so I’d rather be talking about Jason scoring goals for Ipswich, than him going somewhere else.”
Swansea have expressed a wish to recruit Scotland on loan – the window for permanent transfers is closed – in a bid to boost their push for promotion.
Jewell admitted last week that Scotland has “intimated that he is not particularly happy,” but the Town boss wants to keep his proven goal-poacher at Portman Road, especially as Swansea’s current offer (of loan arrangements) is a long way off what Town would even consider.
Asked about the current situation, Jewell explained: “You had better speak to Huw Jenkins (Swansea chairman), because I think he has a communication problem.
“Apparently he hasn’t spoken to me, but he has, so he must have a memory loss!
“There’s nothing going on there, as far as I am concerned. They came back with an offer that wasn’t good enough and I’m quite happy to keep Jason here.”
With regards the injury to skipper Norris, Jewell revealed: “He’s twisted both his ankle and his knee, which is a blow for us really. I expect he will have a scan.”
n Connor Wickham, who is rarely out of the spotlight, has been linked with a possible move to Newcastle when the transfer window reopens this summer, as a replacement for Andy Carroll.
n Derby County are reported to be keeping a close eye on defender Damien Delaney, whose current contract expires this summer.
Match report – See Green’Un