Billy bubbling after welcome hat-trick

BILLY Clarke set off to Belgium today with his Ipswich Town career back on track.The 19-year-old from Cork, Republic of Ireland, scored a welcome hat-trick in Friday's 6-1 victory over Ryman League Division One North Bury Town at Ram Meadow.

By Elvin King

BILLY Clarke set off to Belgium today with his Ipswich Town career back on track.

The 19-year-old from Cork, Republic of Ireland, scored a welcome hat-trick in Friday's 6-1 victory over Ryman League Division One North Bury Town at Ram Meadow.

And Clarke will relish a chance to show what he can do against Royal Antwerp in tomorrow's night's match to put added pressure on the more experienced Town strike force of Alan Lee, Jonathan Walters and Pablo Counago.


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Ipswich first team coach Bryan Klug hailed Clarke's three goals, which could prove a landmark in the teenager's career.

“Billy has been looking sharp,” said Klug today. “What he needed was goals.”

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“And his confidence will be boosted by finding the net on Friday - two of his goals coolly taken in one-on-one situations after intelligent runs.”

Clarke hit the headlines when he scored four goals in his first 11 appearances last season.

But he faded and did not net in the first team after October 21 in the 3-1 victory at Southend United.

And his last start was in the 2-0 home defeat by Leicester City on February 10.

Joining Clarke in wanting to make an impact in 2007/08 is 27-year-old midfielder Gavin Williams, who made his return to action after a summer recuperating from a pelvic problem on Friday.

Whether Williams is on the trip to the continent will depend on whether he suffers any reaction to his 57 minutes at Ram Meadow.

French triallist Arsene Menassiu, 19, suffered a hamstring strain as Town finished with ten men at Bury, and he is a doubt for the trip to face Belgium Second Division Antwerp.

Jaime Peters also took a thigh knock on Friday, while Owen Garvan stayed on for 76 influential minutes despite carrying a hip problem.

Spanish triallist Cesar Navas is receiving treatment at Malaga, but the 27-year-old, who is valued at around £600,000, is still in the Ipswich radar after making a good impression at Portman Road.

He fractured a metatarsal in his foot at Crawley last Tuesday and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.

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