Unfulfilled Jewell ready for a return to football

WHEN you have been out of football for more than two years, it is all too easy to be forgotten.

Paul Jewell is one such man. His admirable success at Bradford City and Wigan Athletic is a distant memory, save for fans of those two teams.

But it should be remembered that he got both teams up into the Premiership and kept them there – a blueprint that would have sat well with Marcus Evans.

There have been downsides, too. He had a dire eight-month spell at Sheffield Wednesday and then took charge of Derby County when they created Premier League history by accruing just 11 points during the whole campaign.

To give some perspective, Jewell took charge of the Rams in November of their annus horribilis – the 2007/08 campaign – and he then was in charge for six months of top-flight football without managing a single win.

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Jewell has been out of football since December 2008 when he finally walked away from Derby County – ironically after a 1-0 defeat against Ipswich – after being unable to arrest their slide following the embarrassing Premier League campaign.

This could be looked at in two ways, but taking the glass half-full approach, he has had 25 months to think about the mistakes he made and regain his hunger for management.

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It is clear he was back looking after he had been linked with vacancies at Plymouth, Hull and Preston over the last six months or so. And his colleagues on Sky Sports, where Jewell has worked as a TV pundit, have alluded to the fact that he is desperate to return to full- time football.

Chris Kamara, who made Jewell his assistant at Bradford City, yesterday wrote on Twitter: “Paul Jewell to get the Ipswich job this week, can’t believe they did not give him it before today. Jags unfulfilled doing TV needed job.”

Jewell was out for six months before taking on the Derby job and it was said that he went into it with fresh enthusiasm. An advocate of ProZone, the computerised tracking system, he brought players in for one-to-one debriefing sessions after matches.

For better or worse, there are some similarities with his predecessor at Portman Road, Roy Keane.

Jewell’s upbringing in a socialist household means principles are high on his agenda while he also can be brutally honest – once describing his spell at Hillsborough as “absolute murder”.

As with Keane, he has never been afraid to dip into the transfer market and spend big.

He bought Kris Commons and Nathan Ellington – who might be on his radar for Ipswich – and also the likes of Laurent Robert and Danny Mills.

And in keeping with the man he is replacing, he will want the right men in his dressing room – the ones Keane failed to bring in for one reason or another.

The current Town side is notoriously quiet and Jewell has said in the past how much his successful Wigan team had ‘noise and big characters’.

Jewell has always had a No. 2 he trusts – Chris Hutchings.

The pair were together at Bradford and Wigan, where Hutchings took over following Jewell’s departure, and they were then reunited at Derby.

Six days ago, Hutchings was sacked as manager of Walsall, and you wouldn’t bet against him turning up in some capacity in the new regime at Portman Road.

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