FORMER Wigan Athletic manager Paul Jewell will be among the spectators for Wednesday’s Carling Cup semi-final with Arsenal before beginning his attempt to rebuild the shattered confidence at Ipswich Town.
Jewell, who left Wigan after leading them to Premier League survival in 2007, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Championship club to replace Roy Keane and inherits a club languishing just three points above the relegation zone.
Promotion to the top flight remains the target for the ambitious Suffolk club and Jewell is expected – as Keane was – to deliver before his deal runs out in 2013.
First, however, the Tractor Boys face Arsene Wenger’s stars in the first leg of the cup clash, and Jewell has confirmed that he would not be taking charge for the game.
Coaches Ian McParland and Tony Loughlan – who oversaw Sunday’s 7-0 thrashing at Chelsea in the FA Cup third round – will prepare for the tie with Jewell officially starting work on Thursday morning.
Jewell said: “Tony and Charlie (McParland) will be in charge on Wednesday night and I will take charge on Thursday.
“I’ve not even met the players or the staff yet, it’s been a real whirlwind and I don’t want to cause a distraction.
“I have DVDs to watch in the meantime and I will be in the stands on Wednesday night.”
Keane’s unhappy reign came to an end last Friday with Town sliding down the league after a run of seven defeats in nine games.
But Jewell – who took both Bradford and Wigan into the top flight – is confident of making it a hat-trick after consolidating this season.
He said: “I’ve had a few opportunities to come back in, but this one ticked all the boxes and I can’t wait to get started.
“I’m not here to say Roy Keane failed here. It’s always sad when a manager loses his job, but I am going to do my best.
“I have great respect for Roy as a player, a manager and a man but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out here.
“I have what it takes to get sides promoted. There are no guarantees but I can promise that there will be no stone unturned in guiding this club to promotion, which is the long-term target.
“Confidence is at a low ebb but hopefully we can consolidate. There is no quick fix.
“I don’t want to be negative, but you normally need about 74 points to get in the play-offs which would mean we need another 46. That is a big ask.
“As long as we can see progress and consolidate, that is the immediate aim.”