Billy bids to create selection headache

YOUNG goal-getter Billy Clarke is looking to give Blues boss Joe Royle a selection headache as he continues in a rich vein of form in front of goal.Although just 17, Clarke is scoring with a flourish since returning from a serious knee injury and, no matter what the occasion, he is banging them in.

By Derek Davis

YOUNG goal-getter Billy Clarke is looking to give Blues boss Joe Royle a selection headache as he continues in a rich vein of form in front of goal.

Although just 17, Clarke is scoring with a flourish since returning from a serious knee injury and, no matter what the occasion, he is banging them in.

Clarke scored the winner by being in the right place at the right time to finish left-footed from a Danny Haynes pass to take his tally of goals to nine in nine games at Academy, reserve and young international level.

Clarke said: “There are two or three very good strikers in the first team at the moment so it won't be easy getting in.

“But, hopefully, I can carry on scoring and give the gaffer a headache.”

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The young Republic of Ireland striker had a good chance to score after just 30 seconds but was thwarted by keeper Joe Lewis, although he didn't miss seconds later.

Clarke said: “The keeper was out early and did well but I got another chance a little later and that was too easy to miss.

“We thought we might go on and get a few more but it turned onto a more physical game, with longer balls and looking for knock downs.”

The Cork teenager missed out on the second leg of the FA Youth Cup final with a serious knee injury but has since returned even stronger.

He said: “It is terrific to be back after being injured and now I'm feeling 100% so I want to carry on playing and scoring.”

Young Blues' skipper Chris Casement admitted playing at Portman Road lifted the young Blues side and they were delighted with beating their old rivals.

Casement said: “It means a lot to the whole team. It was great for us to play in front of such a good crowd.

“It really helped us and it was a great day all round for the payers and the coaches, who have been different class.”

Casement supplied the ball that lead to Clarke getting his first chance, saved well by the keeper, and was delighted Town took and early lead.

He said: “It was a cracking start with two chance in the opening two minutes and Billy managed to put one away.

“Although we were a bit shaky at times after that, even at 1-0 it was a comfortable win for us.

“Even when they had a lot of the ball we coped well enough. Bryan Klug had told us to keep the ball better because we were giving it away too much.”

The Town players who were involved in the Under-18s win are unlikely to play in tonight's reserve match at home to Spurs, but other young stars such as Liam Craig, Owen Garvan, Shane Supple, Gerard Nash, Aidan Collins, Jamie Peters, and Dean McDonald, are expected to take part.

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