Ipswich Town fan RUSSELL CLAYDON says it is time to bed in the youngsters as the focus moves to next season

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PENDING a miracle, another season is all but over at Portman Road.

In truth, as I had previously said, the play-off dream was over long ago.

But one point from two games against Watford and Middlesbrough has all but nailed us to mid-table.

Even though eight points adrift makes it still mathematically possible, they are no less than nine teams to leapfrog — and this is not a Roy of the Rovers script.

Paul Jewell mocked my question after the Burnley win that now would be a good chance to blood the youngsters, but surely that is the way to go.

As good as Grant Leadbitter has been playing, if he isn’t prepared to sign our best offer, I wouldn’t play him. Of what benefit is it to us in preparing for next season? (all that the last seven games are now surely about).

I’d rather see a team with the likes of Luke Hyam, Josh Carson and 16-year-old starlet Byron Lawrence — why not?

The Watford game was pretty much our season encapsulated in 90 minutes: plenty of promise (we should have been 4-0 up by half-time) soon extinguished as defensive frailties cost us dear.

It is so frustrating to think about the stupid amount of points we have not just dropped, but picked up, rolled up and hurled away this season. We could have easily been talking about an extended season — Norwich went up due to added time winners!

The Jason Scotland saga — after Jewell backtracked on repeatedly telling the press we were conspiracy theorists for suggesting he wasn’t being played because he would automatically get a new contract on high wages should he play 19 games — is just another bizarre twist on a story concerning one of our players.

Whether Chopra is playing well or not at the moment, he has to play as there are now no alternatives, after the decision to pay up Tamas Priskin’s contract and not bring anyone else in. And Nathan Ellington’s stay has hardly worked out.

The draw on Tuesday was a decent point, against a decent side, and was about fair on the balance of play. It also showed we are not far away from being a top six side.

I just hope Jewell now uses our unique position to get ahead of the game in identifying his targets for next season, as we have plenty of time to steal a march on our rivals.

l So my charity quest has finished and, thanks to a lot of generosity, I have beaten my £500 target (£558.01) for Sport Relief even before I auction off that horrible signed Norwich shirt I had to endure wearing (maybe someone will pay a fiver for it?).

I got plenty of light-hearted abuse as I jogged round the pitch before the Burnley match but was delighted that, in just over 30 minutes, two collection buckets raked in more than £100 of donations — we may be marooned in the Championshp, but when it comes to fans we are Premier League.