Writer: Darren C
Date:Wednesday January 26 2011
Recent reports have claimed that Ipswich Town are closing in on the loan signing of Hull City midfielder Jimmy Bullard. In the wake of the rumours, Vital Ipswich contributor WiltshireTractor is back to offer us his evaluation of a player that has proven popular both on and off the pitch:
In the wake of the Chimbonda affair, a new rumour has surfaced linking another of Paul Jewell's former charges with the Blues. The man in question is none other than Jimmy Bullard: a player who featured prominently in the Latics' ascension to the top flight.
Bullard originally rose through the youth ranks at West Ham United, who ironically brought him back after the midfielder made a name for himself in non-league football; most notably with Ebbsfleet United (then known as Gravesend & Northfleet).
However, Bullard was unable to break into the Hammers first team and was released in the summer of 2001. He was invited to Peterborough United for a trial, impressing them sufficiently to earn himself a contract with the London Road club.
It was with the Posh that Bullard started showing his potential, earning a reputation as an energetic midfielder with an eye for goal.
Then Wigan boss, Paul Jewell, noticed the ebullient midfielder's talents and swooped to sign him for what would turn out to be a bargain £275,000 in January 2003.
It didn't take long for Jewell to get a return on his investment and the midfielder practically became the Latics' engine room. In the three years at the JJB Stadium, Bullard featured 145 times, netting 10 goals.
It seemed Bullard had proven himself to be a Premiership calibre midfielder when Fulham took advantage of the player's £2.5 million release clause during the summer of 2006.
Sadly, fate struck a cruel blow to the midfielder's Premier League, and potentially international, prospects when he suffered a nasty dislocated knee cap from a Scott Parker challenge against Newcastle in September 2006.
The dislocated knee cap encapsulated Bullard's tenure at Fulham, as injuries blighted the majority of his three year stay at Craven Cottage. However, he did manage to enjoy an injury-free run in the latter stages of the 08/09 season. Bullard's injury-free spell helped to spark a late revival in Fulham's bid to avoid relegation. Bullard chipped in with a couple of memorable goals from free kicks as the Cottagers secured their Premier League status.
Bullard's form at the end of the 2008/09 season was enough to convince Phil Brown to shell out £5 million for the Londoner's services in the summer of 2009.
However, Bullard's time at the KC Stadium echoed that of this spell at Fulham. In two and a half years, the midfielder has made only 23 appearances for The Tigers.
Despite all of the player's injury woes, it would seem Jewell is keen to reunite with the enthusiastic midfielder, hoping to capitalise on the player's ability to pick out a pass and score from midfield. Ipswich haven't truly had a central midfielder of this nature since the heyday of Tommy Miller and I, for one, would kill to see Jimmy Bullard in a blue and white shirt.
What Bullard could bring to the club is surely worth paying what would probably be a substantial salary. His jovial nature would really help improve dressing room spirit. More importantly, though, is that Bullard is an accomplished, high quality player and could be the catalyst that our midfield is crying out for.
The only foreseeable downside is his injury proneness. If he can steer clear of the physio's table, Bullard would be a magnificent capture for the club and I implore the Town hierarchy to do what it takes to land him.
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Date:Wednesday January 26 2011
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