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Carlos EdwardsCarlos Edwards has admitted that the agonising delay over players’ contracts has been “a kick in the face.”

Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell remains hopeful that most of his out-of-contract players will sign this week, ahead of Thursday night’s crunch local derby against Norwich City.

Yet regular right-back Edwards, who has only missed one league game this term, is bemused as to why so many of the club’s key players are still not signed up for next season.

Jewell revealed, after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bristol City, that Damien Delaney had “agreed” to sign a new deal, and that both he and fellow defender Gareth McAuley were on the verge of putting pen to paper.

The news is less clear on skipper David Norris, while keeper Brian Murphy and midfielder Colin Healy are also mulling over new offers.

And current first choice keeper Arran Lee-Barrett explained, following Town’s fourth win from their last five games, that while he had been told there was an offer on the table, he had not yet seen it.

The whole contracts scenario is a puzzle to Edwards.

“It’s a bit surprising things haven’t been resolved quickly. It’s all up in the air, as we all know,” said Edwards.

“I hope everything can be resolved before the end of the season, so that everyone can put their heads down and then we can all reunite for the new season. We can laugh about it later.

“But it’s the core of the team that are out of contract, and we are down the last few games of the season.

“That’s a kick in the face really, not just to the manager, its to the players as well, because they want to stay.

“I don’t know what is the hold up, but I wish them all the best.

“It’s very important for the players to look after themselves, and also important to the club to tie them up.

“We have to keep the core of the team for next season. We need to keep them here,” added Edwards.

Town will move to within an exciting three points of the play-offs, if they can beat arch rivals Norwich at Portman Road on Thursday evening - none of their rivals play for at least another 24 hours.

Even though Town, under previous manager Roy Keane, were thumped 4-1 at Carrow Road on November 28, Edwards does not see this return encounter as a revenge mission.

“We didn’t do ourselves justice at Carrow Road, we let everything slip from our grasp,” confessed Edwards.

“But we shouldn’t say ‘we owe them one.’ We just want to do a professional job. I know that people say it’s about revenge, but it’s going to be a big game, a big derby, for the players and the fans.

“Obviously we want to reward our fans with three points,” added Edwards.