Short in stature, big in heart
BIG hearts are better than big players according to Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell.
The Blues boss knows that his team lacks size for the physically demanding Championship – the average height of the outfield 10 which have started the last six games in succession just 5ft 8in.
However, he says Tuesday night’s battling 1-0 win over Portsmouth shows that his players can make up for their lack of stature with a fighting spirit.
“Most of my teams have always been big and strong,” admitted Jewell. “When I look at us at the minute we’re certainly not that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compete though.
“I don’t know how many corners and throw-ins Portsmouth had the other night, but we showed great desire, great determination and protected the goal with our lives.
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“You can be as big as you want, but if you’ve got a heart the size of a pea it’s no good. At the minute we’ve got players competing against people bigger and stronger than us through sheer desire.
“I’ve said before that you have to be at your best to win games at this level. That was probably wrong because we weren’t at our best on Tuesday night, we were at our best effort and determination wise though and that gives you a chance.”
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He added: “Most teams in English football are strong and athletic, so maybe that’s an area we will look at improving at some stage. I’m not saying players have got to be six foot to sign for us but it’s an area at times where we maybe look a little bit vulnerable.”
Town are looking to extend a six-game unbeaten run and record a fifth straight home win when Crystal Palace visit Portman Road tomorrow. Jewell knows that Dougie Freedman’s fifth-place side are a side in form though.
He said: “They’ve got good players; they’re quick, they’re pacey. (Wilfried) Zaha and (Sean) Scannell have caused most teams problems and they’ve got a good goalkeeper too (Julian Speroni).
“They’ll come here full of confidence, we’re full of confidence so it should be a good game.”
TOWN HEIGHT CHART
Aaron Cresswell 5’5
Jason Scotland 5’6
Michael Chopra 5’6
Grant Leadbitter 5’7
Lee Bowyer 5’7
Jimmy Bullard 5’8
Carlos Edwards 5’9
Keith Andrews 6ft
Danny Collins 6ft
Ibrahima Sonko 6’2