Tommy Smith comes in for praise from Town management

TOMMY Smith might have an uncertain future at Ipswich Town.

But the defender, who is out of contract at Portman Road at the end of the season, is doing all he can to earn a new deal.

Benefiting from an extended run in the team, an impressive performance at Portsmouth in midweek has further proved Smith’s importance to Paul Jewell’s youthful team.

And it is a fact not lost on the Town boss or his backroom staff.

After Ibrahima Sonko’s dislocated rib in Saturday’s abandoned match against Middlesbrough, Smith found himself with a new partner – Damien Delaney – against Pompey but the pair helped Town to their first clean sheet in 10 games.

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And while Jewell has voiced concerns about having two left-footers in the heart of his defence, assistant manager Chris Hutchings said: “We have to stay strong at the back with a new partnership of Damo and Tommy.

“Perhaps you wouldn’t have two left-footed players together, but if you look through the Premier League and Championship you will often have two right-footers and no one says anything about it.

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“I think left-footers seem to stand out a little, but Tommy played on the right hand side and I thought he acquitted himself very, very well.

“He has just got in the side and we have moved him out of his favoured position to play on the right hand side, so we take our hat off to him.

“Damo came in and did very well. I am sure they are looking forward to playing together against Cardiff.”

Jewell recently said Smith might have to wait out until the end of season before opening talks over a new contract – a fact the player seemingly accepted.

But if the New Zealand international keeps improving, Town fans will be keen to seen the young defender tied down to a new deal sooner rather than later.

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