Town fans dream of Jewell repeat

Ipswich Town fans are ready to do their bit. A 9,000-strong Blue Army contingent will descend on north London tomorrow night dreaming of overcoming Arsenal for a second time and booking their place in the final of the Carling Cup.

Among the more superstitious, lucky pants will be worn, rituals will be followed.

But worry ye not Ipswich fans as the club has one very lucky omen sitting right in the heart of the away dugout.

Manager Paul Jewell knows what it takes to be successful in a League Cup semi-final. In fact, he has history in beating Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in the last four and claiming a place at Wembley.

Just five short years ago, when Jewell and his Wigan side were the surprise darlings of the Premier League, the new Town boss masterminded an epic cup shock as his Wigan side beat Arsenal 1-0 in the first leg before winning on away goals overall, following a 2-1 extra time defeat at Highbury.

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A similar scoreline would suit Ipswich fans no end, even if it came in the same dramatic way after Wigan’s place in the final was secured by Jason Roberts’ goal in the 119th minute.

And this giantkilling was not Jewell’s only successful brush with the competition. Much has been written about his unsuccessful stint as manager of Derby County but he did take the unfancied Rams all the way to the last four – even if he was sacked just before the two matches against Manchester United.

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Looking for any more omens before thousands of you make your way up to North London?

The Latics’ 1-0 first leg win is of course a good one, mirroring Ipswich’s own shock triumph ten days ago. And of course much has been said about Tamas Priskin scoring the only goal against Arsenal in the 77th minute – the same time Roger Osborne scored the winner in the 1978 FA Cup final against the Gunners.

When you consider Paul Scharner headed in the only goal at the JJB Stadium at virtually the same time in 2006 – and there starts to become an eerie, hopeful feel to Ipswich’s challenge.

If Jewell’s jinx over Wenger continues and history repeats itself, all Town fans will have to do is sit through 119 agonising minutes and two Arsenal goals – including a missed penalty –before they can celebrate a late away strike and a return to Wembley.

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