Ipswich Town U18s start their FA Youth Cup journey tonight as they face Swansea City in the third round at Portman Road (7pm). Ross Halls looks ahead to the game.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town U18s reached the quarter-finals last season. Ipswich Town U18s reached the quarter-finals last season. (Image: Ross Halls)


Last season, the U18s reached the quarter-finals, losing 4-2 to eventual winners West Ham United after being reduced to ten-men and taking it to extra-time.

Overall, the run saw them see off two category one sides, Nottingham Forest on penalties and then comfortably beat Liverpool 2-0 at Portman Road.

In the 2020/21 season the young Blues reached the semi-finals of the competition where they were beaten 2-1 at home to Liverpool in a game which was live on BT Sport.

Ipswich's promotion to the Championship means the U18s, just like the first team, now enter the competition at the third round stage.

They have won the Youth Cup on three occasions - in 1973, 1975 and 2005.

East Anglian Daily Times: David Wright coached Town U18's in their last game. David Wright coached Town U18's in their last game. (Image: Ross Halls)


The young Blues are currently without a permanent manager, with Callum Tongue recently departing the club to take up an academy recruitment role at Man United.

Tongue had only been in charge of Town’s U18s since March, joining the club from Man City having spent nine years with the Premier League champions.

U21s coach David Wright was in charge for their last game, with the former Town defender likely to be in the dugout again as the Blues are in the process of appointing a replacement.

There has been a lot of change in coaches over the past few years for the U18s with previous managers Sam Darlow and Adem Atay joining Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa respectively.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town U18s are currently eighth in the table.Ipswich Town U18s are currently eighth in the table. (Image: James Ager)


It has been a mixed bag start for the young Blues. They sit eighth in the Professional Development League Two South table after winning three, drawing two and losing four of their opening nine league games.

Plenty of goals have been scored in their games though, with them thrashing QPR 7-0 and beating Colchester United 6-4 at home respectively.

They haven’t played a league game since early November, when they lost 1-0 at Bournemouth, and they were beaten in their last match too, 3-0 at home to Millwall in the PDL Cup.

In another cup competition they’ve reached the semi-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup, the first time in five seasons they've reached the last four.

East Anglian Daily Times: Rio Oudnie-Morgan in action for Town U18s.Rio Oudnie-Morgan in action for Town U18s. (Image: James Ager)


The squad is full of first and second year scholars with some players already signing professional contracts at the club.

That includes captain Tom Taylor, midfielder Emmanuel Okunowo and forwards Rio Oudnie-Morgan and Ashton Boswell.

Oudnie-Morgan featured for Town’s first team during pre-season and scored goals in last year's FA Youth cup run. He has won caps for Northern Ireland at U17, U18 and U19 level.

Another forward to mention is Olly Davis, who has been at the club since the age of seven and scored a hat-trick in the thrashing of QPR this season.

Plenty of players have also featured for the U21s this season. That includes Okunowo, who impressed, midfielder Steven Turner and defender Jesse Ayoola, while keeper Danny Cullum spent time on loan at Suffolk non-league side Bury Town earlier this season.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town last one in FA Youth Cup in 2005.Ipswich Town last one in FA Youth Cup in 2005. (Image: Newsquest)


Like Town, the Swans have a category two academy, They are currently seventh in the table and one point above the Blues having played a game more.

The two sides are yet to play in the league this season, but the last meeting saw the Blues lose 5-3 away at Swansea in April.

Ollie Jefferies' side have reached the quarter-finals of the PDL Cup after finishing top of their group, with two wins and a draw.

They were knocked out of the youth cup in the third-round last year after losing 2-1 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.