Jewell's praise for De Vos
PAUL Jewell is hoping his former captain Jason De Vos achieves his Premiership dream by finishing behind Wigan, writes Derek Davis.The Latics boss could not praise the Canadian enough ahead of tonight's game, which he insists will not decide anything.
PAUL Jewell is hoping his former captain Jason De Vos achieves his Premiership dream by finishing behind Wigan, writes Derek Davis.
The Latics boss could not praise the Canadian enough ahead of tonight's game, which he insists will not decide anything.
Jewell did not want to lose De Vos, who signed for Ipswich in the summer after the club's chairman, Dave Whelan, reneged on a verbal agreement made with De Vos during original contract talks.
Wigan's loss has been Town's gain, and Jewell is delighted the defender, who helped Wigan win the Division Two Championship and promotion two seasons ago, is doing so well.
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He said: “Jason was a great player for us and I was sorry to see him go in the summer.
“When he joined Ipswich I wished him good luck and now I hope he finishes second with them - behind us.
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“I have nothing but admiration for Jason, as a player and a person, he is a genuinely nice guy.”
Jewell is also an old friend and adversary of Town manager Joe Royle, and is wise to his ways.
He said: “Joe is great about saying he has no money, or that he has a tight budget, but he has the benefit of inheriting a great Academy that has produced some terrific players.
“He might not have the money we, and other clubs, have to spend on players but he has got the likes of Darren Bent and Dean Bowditch among others from the Academy.”
Not the best supported Championship side at the best of times, the benefit of live television and the distance on a Tuesday night, means only around 250 Latics fans will make the journey south.
That has not stopped Jewell and his players relishing the chance to perform on Town's immaculate pitch.
He said: “We would have preferred to have played on a Saturday but we will have to get on with it.
“The pitch is fabulous there and the atmosphere will be fantastic.
“The fact that that it is first versus second has given the game extra onus by many people but, whatever happens, there will still be a long way to go. Nothing will be decided on the night.”
Wigan will be unchanged from the side that thumped Preston 10 days ago.
They are still chasing Robbie Blake and have upped their offer to £1.25m but don't expect him to sign before Burnley's FA Cup clash with Liverpool next month.
Meanwhile, defender Ian Breckin has signed a new two-year extension to his contract.