18 Aug 2012
- Written by Dave Gooderham (Ipswich Star)
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They are the main thirty-somethings to survive Paul Jewell’s cull. The Ipswich Town side taking their place in this afternoon’s Championship opener against Blackburn Rovers will be one of the youngest ever to start a league season for the Blues.
This means the role of club captain Carlos Edwards and striker Jason Scotland – both 33 – are crucial in helping the kids come through.
Scotland said: “We have some young lads in the dressing room, but I can help them and guide them by offering some of my experience.
“Carlos is there as well. We are probably the two most experienced players in the squad and Carlos will help by being skipper as well.
“The season is a learning process but even though the guys are young, they have been in and around the team for a long time.”
This guidance has also been advocated by one of the youngsters, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who is confident of a strong season ahead.
JET said: “The team has got a lot of young boys in it with a lot of talent. I am sure the older boys can show us the right way and we can do the business on the pitch.”
Scotland’s presence in and around the dressing room has always been praised by manager Paul Jewell – and it has now become even more important since the departure of fellow livewire Jimmy Bullard.
The midfielder, who last week left the club via mutual agreement, will be missed according to Scotland, who will be hoping to get the nod against Blackburn today having scored two in the last three friendly and competitive matches.
Of his former team-mate, Scotland said: “Everyone was so surprised but Jimmy and the manager had a chat and made the decision. It has come and gone and we all move on.
“Jimmy was always Jimmy – everyone knows what he is like. He is crazy and mental in the dressing room and we will miss that side of him.”
Experienced striker Jason Scotland is looking to provide Ipswich with a slimline tonic in the season ahead.
Scotland will go into today’s first Championship game of the new campaign, at home to relegated Blackburn, more than half a stone lighter than he finished last term.
The Trinidad & Tobago international starred in Tuesday’s comfortable Capital One Cup first round victory over Bristol Rovers, equalising five minutes before the break after the visitors had taken a shock lead to put Town en route to a 3-1 victory and a second round visit to Carlisle.
Eagle-eyed fans may have spotted the weight reduction and Scotland confirmed: “I have lost eight pounds because I wanted to be fitter and leaner than last season. I want to be as sharp as possible when called upon.”
The former Swansea and Wigan striker has so far netted 20 times in 82 appearances, 26 of them as a substitute, and fully accepts he is not going to be given a starting role for every game.
He added: “I want to play every game but I know that isn’t going to happen. My body probably won’t allow me to play as many times as my mind wants me to play.
“I am 33 – 34 in February – and as you get older you have to accept that you are not going to be playing all the time, Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, throughout the season.
“I just want to make sure that I am as fit as possible to play when required and contribute as much as I can. I have spoken to the gaffer about this and he has said he will use me in certain games and also give me a rest at times.”
The fact that Scotland and fellow countryman Carlos Edwards – the club skipper will be 34 in October – are the most senior members of Paul Jewell’s squad is certainly not lost on him.
He added: “We know we are the most experienced players and we will both be looking to help instil a winning mentality into the younger guys.”
From the start or from the bench – Jason Scotland has important role to play
By Dave Gooderham (Ipswich Star)
Jason Scotland has become something of an unlikely Blues hero as he continued his good early-season form with a starring cameo against Blackburn Rovers.
As predicted by both manager and striker, Scotland was unable to start two matches in four days, dropping to the bench on Saturday after his fantastic performance in the Capital One Cup against Bristol Rovers.
But after replacing the ineffectual Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in the 66th minute, Scotland helped change the game – and not just with his deft touch to Luke Hyam’s dinked through-ball which Rovers full-back Ryan Lowe then deflected into his own net.
Delighted with how his big man helped rescue a point, Blues boss Paul Jewell said: “He’s got that touch of quality.
“He might not be able to finish too many 90-minute games, but he’s a great player to have coming off the bench because he makes us play a little bit.”
Jewell’s words were echoed by Lee Martin who believes Scotland has a big role to play this season, regardless of who the manager looks to bring in upfront.
Martin said: “He is a brilliant player. He probably hasn’t got two 90 minutes in a week but he can make an impact.
“He came on and made a difference and got an assist with the own goal. He is big and strong but also a clever footballer and we are going to need him this season, whether he starts or comes on.
“He has played at the top so there is no doubting his talent.”
Scotland might have to be content with another place on the bench at Watford tomorrow night with Martin back to his best in the advanced central role just playing behind Michael Chopra.