Academy team takes on Saints

Ipswich Town's Under-18 side take on Southampton today at the Ipswich training centre, looking to build on their fine 1-0 away win against Arsenal last Saturday.

Ipswich Town's Under-18 side take on Southampton today at the Ipswich training centre, looking to build on their fine 1-0 away win against Arsenal last Saturday.

Beating Arsenal at any level is always special and their Academy teams, incorporating young talent discovered from around the world as well as across London, are always very strong.

The reverse has clearly hurt the Gunners, so much so that they have forgotten to post the score on the official club website.

But it will be a performance remembered by the Town players involved.

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And the result was even more remarkable as Town had held back several of their under-18s in preparation for Monday's reserve clash with Norwich.

In fact, 15 of the 16 players on duty at Portman Road have represented Academy teams.

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Even so some, like Shane Supple and Liam Craig, doubled up in both games.

Today's under-18 match against the high-flying Saints, as well as the under-16 fixture, will kick-off at 1pm.

Academy director Bryan Klug said: “They are the top team in the country at the moment. They have invested heavily in buying in young players.

“They have put a lot of money in to the team and it shows. It will be certainly be a big task for us.”

The Saints have won all eight of their Academy league games so far, have a maximum 24 points and last Saturday came out on to, 1-0 against Charlton Athletic.

Their under-18 team is coached by experienced French coach Georges Prost, who had seven years coaching at Olympique Marseilles after playing for Monaco, Mulhouse, Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais.

He has also been involved with the French national scouting network and has superb contacts across Europe.

Town's goal last Saturday was scored by midfielder Danny Haynes after good work by Liam Craig, though centre-half Chris Casement was probably man-of-the-match.

There was worrying news for another centre-half, Gerard Nash, who had to leave the field after suffering another knee injury.

Fortunately, the news since has proved more hopeful.

His medial ligament injury will require a couple of weeks' rest and then he should be back in action.

Klug said: “It is not as bad as we thought. We will wait and see how it settles down.”

Also likely to be out is Michael Synnott, who picked up an ankle injury in the Norwich defeat.

Striker Billy Clarke, who injured his knee against Leicester reserves last week, will also probably be out for a month.

But Liam Manning may be fit to return and Adem Atay could also feature, having returned last week.

Klug said: “They are playing so many games now they are picking up niggling injuries.

“I was very pleased with the Arsenal performance and result. It was a game I never felt we would lose.

“It was our best away result against them in 17 years, apart from our FA Youth Cup semi-final win at Highbury.”

Also in the squad is 16-year-old striker Charlie Sheringham, who is joining the Academy for the rest of the season.

The former Spurs Academy player, and son of England star Teddy, has shown up well both in training and practise games.

“We are keeping him for the season. Both he and his father are very pleased,” Klug added.

Possible Ipswich squad: Blackwell, Atay, Krause, Casement, Haynes, Manning, Beveridge, Lordan, Garvan, Hammond, Trotter, Ainsley, Craig, Trotter, Moore, Knights, Sheringham and Guentchev.

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