Birthday present is a bright future

GERARD Nash will celebrate his 17th birthday today by signing a three-year professional contract with Ipswich Town.It is just reward for the Irish lad who has battled back from a serious knee injury to force his way into the first-team squad and another feather in the Academy's flourishing cap.

GERARD Nash will celebrate his 17th birthday today by signing a three-year professional contract with Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

It is just reward for the Irish lad who has battled back from a serious knee injury to force his way into the first-team squad and another feather in the Academy's flourishing cap.

The Dublin-born six-footer, who is a dominant centre half who can push into midfield, will get a taste of senior action on Tuesday when he is expected to play a part in the Blues' friendly at Southend United.

Nash, who has captained the Republic of Ireland youth team, is also included in the 19-man Town squad travelling to Scandinavia next week.


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Blues boss Joe Royle said: "Gerard has done exceptionally well after coming back from injury and he is highly rated by the Academy staff."

Midfielder Antonio Murray has also been handed a new two-year deal after making his first-team debut against Derby on the last day of the season.

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Murray, who won an under-17s league championship medal with the Blues Academy, is another looking to force his way into the starting line-up next season.

Town skipper Jim Magilton and Richard Naylor both formalised their new one-year deals yesterday, following Fabian Wilnis, who put pen to paper on Wednesday.

Royle said: "It is good to get everything tied up. There were no dramas, it was just a case of getting the paperwork done."

Meanwhile, Mark Venus has shaken hands on a one-year deal with Cambridge United boss John Taylor.

Venus, who was hampered by injury last season, was not given a new contract at Ipswich Town and has been training at the Abbey Stadium recently. He had considered a move to Peterborough United but should sign for the U's once the club doctor returns from holiday next week.

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