Another big game for U17s

IPSWICH Town's academy teams have completed their league programme but the U17 squad have another big match to prepare for, away at Crystal Palace on Saturday, April 26, in the play-offs group stage.

IPSWICH Town's academy teams have completed their league programme but the U17 squad have another big match to prepare for, away at Crystal Palace on Saturday, April 26, in the play-offs group stage, writes David Vincent.

Already in their group the U17s have dominated at Derby County, where they drew 1-1, and won 2-1 at home against Manchester United thanks to two goals from Craig Reid.

They will go to London looking for a win which will be enough take them into the knock-out phase whatever happens in the other game.

Some of these lads have played an awful lot of football this year, up into the U19s and reserves and, in the case of Dean Bowditch, the first team.

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At times they do look tired and the coaches have to decide when they need a break to recover and recuperate.

As we approach Easter this is a period of player development and, on Sunday afternoon, a number of schoolboys will probably feature in an U17 friendly against visiting Norwegian team Mjondalen IF. Kick-off is 2pm at the Ipswich Town Training Centre.

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Then on Monday Bryan Klug, Steve Greaves and Paul Bartlett will accompany an U14 squad heading north to Durham for the annual Nike tournament, a trip which has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from former players Kieron Dyer and Titus Bramble.

The players have many friends at the club and there is mutual respect between them and their former coaches and colleagues.

A few years ago Ipswich won a similar tournament with a team that include Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose, Guy Bonwick, Ian Westlake and Matt Bloomfield.

There are no formal academy games during Easter but it is a busy time for coaching, friendlies and visiting trialists.

The good relationships with between Ipswich academy, West Ham and Norwich City, for example, are crucial at this time.

They may be fierce rivals on the pitch but there is real friendship within this section of the family of football.

Midfielder or striker Robert Dickinson, who has joined Third Division Boston United on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal, has done his chances of a first-team debut no harm with a sparkling performance in a 4-2 reserves win over Scunthorpe United this week.

Dickinson scored twice and made another of the goals.

Also in the side were manager Neil Thompson, the former Town star, and another Ipswich academy boy Lee Beevers played in the defence.

TWO famous Town names of yesteryear are linking up at Rushden & Diamonds, Talbot and Wark.

Brian Talbot, formerly of Ipswich, Arsenal and England is now the manager hoping to take the Diamonds up into the Second Division.

And he is going to be joined at Nene Park by Scott Wark, nephew of John Wark.

Stoke High School pupil Wark has been developing his football with Town for several years but he is not being offered an academy place in the summer.

He has impressed in trial games at Rushden and his dad Andy said he was very pleased he was being offered a YTS place there.

"The club has a great set-up and I was very impressed. It was a disappointment for Scott not being taken on by Ipswich but this is a great opportunity for him."

Youth development officer Georff Harrup, who moved to Rushden from Colchester United in the summer, is very pleased to get Wark junior.

"The manager (Brian Talbot) is very keen on youth. We have seven under-21s in our first team.

"Warky is a rangy left-sided midfield player and he has done well for us in our under-19s and we are offering him a three-year scholarship.

"He is very similar to Andy Burgess, who is in our first team, at the same age. Cyril Lea has been coaching the boys and we are really excited to be taking on three boys, including Scott, and develop them further. We have great facilities here. If they can be half as good as the seven who have made the first-team squad we will be very pleased."

FORMER Ipswich academy goalkeeper Colin Stewart, now playing in Scotland, made his full debut for Kilmarnock in their 6-2 thrashing of Hibs on Saturday.

And current academy defender Victor Hill has joined Woodbridge Town on loan and may feature in their Jewson League Premier Division relegation battle.

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