Size is everything – Paul Jewell wants to increase numbers and height

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell knows his squad needs to grow – both in numbers and stature – if it is to stand any chance of competing among the most daunting Championship line-up seen in years.

Only a superb late penalty save from Scott Loach prevented the Blues from losing at home to newly-promoted Huddersfield on Saturday and heading into the two-week international break on the back of three successive defeats.

And while numerous Championship rivals splashed the cash before last Friday’s transfer deadline for permanent signings, Town fans are concerned that the reluctance of multi-millionaire owner Marcus Evans to do the same at Portman Road will herald yet another campaign filled with little progress.

The Blues’ first team squad is just 24-deep at present; that number including six teenagers, three loanees, the ostracised Nathan Ellington and just two centre-backs.

And while Football League clubs have the opportunity to bring players in on loan as of next Monday, the restriction of those deals to a maximum of 93 days will leave the squad stretched over the busy Christmas schedule.

“There are some areas of the team we need to improve – I think a blind man could see that,” said Jewell, speaking after both Luke Chambers and Michael Chopra netted in his side’s entertaining 2-2 draw at the weekend.

“Centre-back is one area, among others, that we’re trying to strengthen. You look around our team and one thing that smacks you in the face is the size of us.

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“Daryl Murphy has been a big help to us with his size today, we’ve got Guirane N’Daw who will help in that department when he’s fit and we need another centre-half.

“I’ve been trying to get one in for a while and there are things we are working on. I’m not going to start saying I’m positive something is about to happen because I’ve fallen into that trap before, but, trust me, I know we need another centre-half.”

Peterborough director of football Barry Fry has said he is “open” to the idea of Ipswich trying to set up a loan deal for midfielder George Boyd after a permanent move fell through last week, while the Green’Un understands that Jewell has enquired about the availability of Leicester City centre-back Sean St Ledger.