Town’s search for a midfield general

MIDFIELD generals are hard to find, and Ipswich Town have already lost two of them.

MIDFIELD generals are hard to find, and Ipswich Town have already lost two of them.

Yesterday, ex-Town skipper, David Norris, agreed to sign for Championship rivals Portsmouth.

And just a couple of days earlier, manager Paul Jewell admitted that fellow midfielder Jimmy Bullard’s wages would be too high for the Hull City loanee to return to Portman Road for another campaign.

Both were key men in Town’s side last season.

Norris was the club’s leading scorer with 11 goals, and had been a good servant for the last three years, while Bullard was voted the supporters’ player of the year, even though he didn’t sign on loan from the Tigers until the end of January.

Both will be missed and yet, funnily enough, Town have already moved on, especially from the Norris saga.

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Hull City’s Dean Marney, a midfielder formerly on Tottenham’s books, has already been linked with a move to Portman Road.

Norris’ move to Fratton Park, which cannot be completed until after his Town contract expires at the end of this month, was hardly a surprise.

Jewell knew that his captain was on his way, before the end of last season, when the 30-year-old turned down the offer of a two-year deal – Norris had insisted that he had wanted a three-year package.

Of course Jewell needs to find at least one new midfielder, to replace the departed Norris and the non-returning Bullard.

And he will.

The Town boss has lost no time in recruiting a new striker in Michael Chopra, and a new centre-half in Ivar Ingimarsson, who could even be a future captain.

And a midfielder will also be on his horizon, though perhaps a more defensively-minded player than the attack-minded Norris.

Next season will be Jewell’s first full one in charge of Town, and it will be very much his own squad on show.

In addition to Chopra and Ingimarsson, at least five new recruits are expected within the next few weeks.

The days of Norris, Bullard and Gareth McAuley (now West Brom) are in the past.

A new era is dawning.