‘We’d beat Arsenal at rugby’ - Jewell

“I FANCY us beating Arsenal at rugby,” said Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell tongue in cheek on the eve of his club’s biggest game for six years.

This is in response to Gunners’ midfielder Cesc Fabragas’ claim that Ipswich played more like a rugby than football team in their first leg 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final, first leg victory.

“Perhaps if we were playing at Twickenham rather than the Emirates we might have a chance,” added Jewell.

“My players have not mentioned the jibe and perhaps Cesc’s comments went reported out of context. We won’t be pushing the cutting on the dressing room wall.”

Jewell is realistic about the task in front of his team if they want to progress through to Wembley and become the first non top flight side to achieve this since Birmingham a decade ago.


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He revealed he had to turn Match of the Day off on Saturday night.

“Arsenal were playing so well I had to turn my TV off,” he said.

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“They are the form team in England, but it is 11 against 11 and we have to go there are try and cause an upset.

“We can try and cope with van Persie and then there is Fabregas, and then Walcott and then Nasri – and it can bring you out in a cold sweat.

“They are a great club with great players and a great manager and they are capable of tearing Champions League teams apart.”

Jewell selected his team yesterday morning and told his players who will be travelling to north London this morning for rest in a hotel this afternoon.

“I’ve told my lads that they mustn’t get taken by the surroundings,” added Jewell.

“If they do that before they know it they will be out of the game.

“They have to just concentrate on their own game, and we know that we will come under pressure.

“But when we do get the ball we have to show composure and do the right things at the right times.”

Jewell managed Wigan to victory at Highbury that saw them beat Arsenal to get to Wembley.

“Arsenal showed class by bringing in champagne from their dressing room to ours and we had a good night,” said Jewell.

“But what I remember about the night was being ridiculed for wearing a leather coat that is maybe now in a museum somewhere.

“But coat withstanding a repeat win tonight would be very nice.”

Lee Martin is cup tied with Charlton with Colin Healy recovering from a slight groin strain to be available for selection.

Darren O’Dea has been named in a provisional Republic of Ireland squad for their game against Wales in Dublin on February 8.

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