Town’s deadline day – a rush of excitement or a damp squib?

Stick or twist.

That is the decision facing Paul Jewell and Town owner Marcus Evans today as they must weigh up making a big deadline day swoop against waiting for the loan market to reopen next week.

The Blues boss yesterday told fans that there could be surprises on the final day of the transfer window – but equally supporters are bracing themselves for a depressing day of inactivity.

Talks with Portsmouth over trio Jason Pearce, Joel Ward and Stephen Henderson have moved painfully slowly and Jewell had yesterday resigned himself to missing out on one, two or all three of his top targets.

But in another twist in the transfer saga between the divisional rivals, the South Coast club last night revealed they had not paid their players and staff this month – but whether that strengthens Town’s case remains to be seen.

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Despite growing more and more frustrated with every passing day, Jewell has refused to rule out any last-gasp moves before his hopes of improving his confidence-hit squad are restricted to the loan market.

He said: “It is going to be difficult, but that’s not to say people won’t come in tomorrow. We are working on a couple of deals that might come off. If they don’t, I don’t know what else we can do.

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“It is amazing how things happen. We might get a couple of phone calls out of the blue for a couple of players and things fall into place – that is the nonsense of it really.

“Everyone is working against the deadline and everything seems to be crammed into the last 48 hours. I would say don’t be surprised if there are surprises.”

Jewell, who yesterday ruled out a bid for Crawley striker Tyrone Barnett, appears to have conceded defeat in his bid to get players in for tonight’s visit of table-topping West Ham – new midfielder Ryan Stevenson is unlikely to be risked.

And it remains to be seen whether today’s final chance to buy players turns out to be an exciting one or something that drifts into a damp squib.

That would leave the loan market as the only avenue open to the Blues boss – something that is unlikely to appease concerned supporters.

He said: “It has been going on for weeks now and it is getting a bit critical as the window closes tomorrow.

“I still think Ipswich is one that people regard as a big club. There are a lot of boxes that it ticks, the one it doesn’t at the moment is our league position.

“We are hoping people can look beyond that and Ipswich will still be an attractive proposition.

“We do have alternatives for the loan market, but I want to bring in players who can be here for the long run.”

n Keep checking this website for all the latest Town comings and goings on today’s transfer deadline day.

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