IPSWICH Town midfielder Jimmy Bullard is backing Paul Jewell to bring the good times back to Portman Road.
Bullard, who resurrected his partnership with the former Wigan Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday chief by moving to Suffolk during last month’s transfer window, said the 46-year-old had been the driving force behind his decision to leave Hull City.
“I’m sure Paul Jewell will do a great job at Ipswich,” he said. “He’s one of the best managers I have played for and it makes such a difference to play for someone you respect.
“We enjoyed success at Wigan together and I am looking to do the same during my time at Ipswich. This is a great club and I’m just glad to be here and playing football again.”
Bullard, who has arrived on loan for the rest of the season, is expected to feature against Sheffield United tomorrow after opening his Town account during the midweek win over Derby County. Speaking after that match, which lifted his side to 17th in the Championship table, Jewell said: “We won, which is great but there is so much we can do better. There are shoots of progress you can see.
“Winning breeds confidence – and the lads have not been used to winning but Jimmy Bullard is bringing a new dimension to our play.”
United have also shown signs of improvement since Adams’ arrival six matches ago but are still searching for their first victory under his stewardship. With 18 games remaining, translating those combative displays into positive results is a problem Adams knows must be urgently solved.
Confirmation that Joe Mattock, United’s on-loan full-back, will miss the visit to Ipswich deals yet another blow to a defence already missing influential figures such as Chris Morgan and Nyron Nosworthy.
But Neill Collins’ likely inclusion - the former Leeds centre-half’s transfer from Elland Road was not processed in time to enable his selection against Leicester City on Tuesday - should limit some of the damage. His presence, coupled with that of new midfielder Michael Doyle, will give United a steely edge.
However, improving the service to strikers Ched Evans and Marcus Bent appears to be United’s most pressing concern. Especially as Evans, who has scored six times in his previous 12 appearances, is finally starting to fulfil the promise which persuaded United to spend £3 million prising him away from Manchester City 18 months ago.
After dominating for long periods, United could count themselves desperately unfortunate to have lost their meeting with Sven Goran Eriksson’s men. Nevertheless, more width and accurate crossing could have ensured they were not hostages to fortune.
“Everyone will have an opinion on personnel you select,” Adams conceded. “On those that you leave on the bench. That’s part and parcel of the business. You get on with it.”
Despite Town’s solid form - victory over United would see them complete a hat-trick of league wins - Jewell also has issues to deal with of his own. Indeed, goalkeeper Martin Fulop yesterday became the latest member of their squad to urge the board to offer David Norris an improved contract and remove the uncertainty surrounding his future.
“It’s a big plus that we still have David Norris in our squad,” said Fulop. “If you don’t keep your best players you don’t stand much of a chance.”