THERE has been gushing praise for Paul Jewell so far, and just a point from games against Hull City and league-leaders QPR will do little to quell that.
But has the former Wigan chief really got a magic wand, or is he, at this stage, just showing up Roy Keane’s deficiencies as an Ipswich Town manager?
I firmly believe it is the latter, which is to take nothing away from the job Jewell is doing - 14 points from 18 over our six matches, before QPR on Tuesday, actually made us the form team going to Loftus Road!
Jon Walters’ comments about players walking on “egg-shells” on leaving for Stoke, confirmed what I had long suspected - I have been to our former captain’s house for an interview and knew the amicable person I met, a real family man, was an unlikely source to bring up smoke without fire.
Likewise, the recent comments from Luca Civelli - that he was forced to train with the reserves under Keane, with no explanation, months after he was deemed fully fit again - simply backs up Walters’ assertion it was a far from happy camp. Then ask Lee Martin, Kevin Lisbie, David Wright, Pablo Counago and Owen Garvan for a quiet word about the former Manchester United captain and I am very confident you would have a story to turn a book into a bestseller.
Maybe one day we will hear more, but even someone who works for the club confided in me Roy Keane was the only Ipswich manager never to acknowledge him.
What Jewell has done is steady the ship, put an arm around players such as Lee Martin and Non-League signing Andy Drury, and told them what they want to hear - they are good enough for this level and he has unreserved faith in their abilities.
His door is always open and there will be no silly guessing games with his teamsheet, unlike Keane’s, with Jewell even using the media as a sounding board to name his team straight after one game, twice now stating there will be one change.
If only Fabio Capello had used this method, which must help confidence, in South Africa.
In fact, under Keane’s influence, there was never a settled side - born out of a table published by the Press Association on Friday showing Ipswich have used the third highest amount of players this season in the Championship (35) while the two least used - at Nottingham Forest (26) and Burnley (25) - both look to have a great chance of promotion.
With struggling Portsmouth visiting Portman Road on Saturday, plaudits are likely to continue to pile in for Jewell. But just remember the flying start Keane made - though I think we can predict this will be no illusion.
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