Why I dropped Luke Hyam - Jewell

He has endeared himself to Blues fans over recent weeks with his all-action style and never-say-die attitude, playing an integral part in Town’s turn in fortunes.

So Luke Hyam’s shock omission from Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Bristol City raised a few eyebrows.

But with seven games to come in March, including tonight’s clash at Championship leaders Southampton, boss Paul Jewell has assured the Portman Road faithful that the 20-year-old’s time is likely to come again sooner rather than later.

Should he make the team bus this evening, former Northgate High School pupil Hyam may have to settle for a place on the bench, especially after club captain Grant Leadbitter’s successful Saturday return.

But Jewell, who waited a year before handing Hyam a chance, insists the youngster is very much a part of his plans ahead of an energy-sapping month.

“I’ve said to the players that the likelihood is not everyone is going to play in all these games,” said Jewell.

“I very rarely rotate things for the sake of it, but I decided to alter things a bit on Saturday because Grant (Leadbitter) has been outstanding in training and Luke (Hyam) looked a little tired. He was very unlucky, I’ve had a long chat with him and I’ve told him I’m really pleased with him. That’s why training is important. I want there to be an edge to training.”

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Former Sunderland man Leadbitter’s first start since January 11 created its own talking point as the Blues club captain was selected but not handed the armband – Jewell preferring to stick with Carlos Edwards.

While this may have caused supporters to speculate over the future of the 26-year-old, Jewell insists the decision was made with Leadbitter’s best interests at heart.

“Sometimes we speak too much about the captaincy in football. In cricket and rugby they have more input,” said Jewell.

“I just told Grant to go and play, don’t worry about being captain. I just wanted him to make sure all he had to worry about was playing football. It’s not a kick in the teeth

“I’m sure Carlos is honoured to be captain, but he’s the sort of guy who is so laid back that it doesn’t really affect. Not that I’m saying it affected Grant.

“To be honest it’s no big deal to me. “It’s more a big deal in this country. In Italy it’s the guy who’s got the most caps who gets the armband, sometimes goalkeepers get it. I just don’t think it’s that big a deal really.”

n What do you think? Was Jewell right to drop Hyam? Should Edwards be captain full-time? Let us know at starsport@archant.co.uk.