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Homegrown players appreciate the support, says Tommy Smith

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 November 2012

Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith

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WE will repay your faith.

That’s Tommy Smith’s message to the Ipswich Town fans who have got behind the club’s homegrown players in recent weeks.

Proud of the club’s once great tradition of producing young talent from within the academy, Blues fans have been hurt by the premature departures of the likes of Jordan Rhodes and Liam Trotter – the Ipswich schoolboys both currently enjoying success at Championship rivals Blackburn and Millwall respectively.

And in recent years there has been disgruntlement that academy graduates such as Smith, Luke Hyam and Josh Carson have often been seen as the fall guys whenever a bad run of results has come around.

When Mick McCarthy inherited a side that was bottom of the Championship at the start of the month, he decided the situation required ‘hard-nosed professionals’. However, Smith and Hyam have both forced their way into his side over recent matches with some typically spirited displays.

Former Northgate High School pupil Hyam spoke of his pride after Town fans chanted ‘he’s one of our own’ following his goal in Tuesday night’s impressive 3-1 home win over Nottingham Forest, while Smith says he also feels the love from the Portman Road masses.

“When Luke (Hyam) came on as sub against Peterborough last Saturday the fans gave him a great reception,” said the 22-year-old. “And I think he definitely repaid that faith they showed him the other night.

“We do feel that closeness to the fans as lads who have come through the academy. I came here from New Zealand to sign my scholarship when I was 14, started watching the first team and quickly became a supporter.

“The likes of Luke and myself can sense that the supporters want us to do well and we are desperate to repay that faith.

“It’s great to see the fans so happy after Tuesday’s win because I know how much it means to them.”

Smith’s record under McCarthy consists of two wins and a draw, with the centre-back having been rested for the 6-0 defeat at Leicester due to his midweek trip to China to captain New Zealand in an international friendly.

“I think that may be a bit of a coincidence!” said Smith, when asked about his unbeaten start under the new regime.

“I’m happy with how I’m playing though and, with my next international game not until March, I hope I can cement my place in the side.”

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The second tier season starts next Friday, however, clubs are working frantically to add to their squads, ahead of a long campaign. Several deals HAVE already been done though and CHRIS BRAMMER picks out six of the best.

Nearly 60 per cent of Ipswich Town fans would like to see Luke Chambers start in the heart of the Blues defence, alongside Adam Webster, when the Championship season begins next Saturday.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is prepared to play a waiting game to sign the right striker before the transfer window shuts.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy won’t sacrifice results to satisfy supporters’ thirst for more attractive football at Portman Road this season.

Colchester United manager John McGreal insists his players still have a lot of room for improvement, ahead of the U’s League Two opener at Accrington Stanley, next Saturday.

Ipswich Town beat Colchester United 1-0 in a pre-season game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last night. Stuart Watson gives his thoughts.

Summer signing Joe Garner scored his sixth goal of pre-season as Ipswich Town defeated Colchester United, 1-0, in a friendly at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Mick McCarthy has named a team mixed with youth and experience for tonight’s pre-season friendly at Colchester United.

Ipswich Town head to local rivals Colchester United tonight, as the Blues’ preparations for the new Championship season step up a notch.

The best young female footballers in the region will be coming to Ipswich Town as the club saw off strong competition from other teams to partner the Football Association and host the FA Women’s U21 East Region Academy.

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