Blow to Town youngsters

WHILE exciting winger Dean McDonald took a step closer to a first- team breakthrough for Ipswich, two other wannabes will have to settle for next season, writes Derek Davis.

WHILE exciting winger Dean McDonald took a step closer to a first- team breakthrough for Ipswich, two other wannabes will have to settle for next season, writes Derek Davis.

Red tape will prevent Jaime Peters from playing a part at Brighton, or in the play-offs, and injury will deprive Billy Clarke of an early call-up.

Canadian international Peters turns 18 tomorrow but will not be signing for the Blues until the end of June, once a two-year work permit has been granted.

Peters signed a pre-agreement in January committing himself to Ipswich Town but the Blues want to get two full seasons out of him rather than one and a bit, and sensibly, see no point in signing him early.


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The exciting winger, who turned down Chelsea, Manchester United, Derby and Millwall to come to Portman Road, is currently away training with the Canadian international team.

Meanwhile, Clarke, who missed his youth team's dramatic cup final victory over Southampton with a knee injury, has targeted a first-team debut next season.

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The striker is looking to put that disappointment behind him and return to full training during the pre-season and push in the reserves and then the senior squad.

Clarke said: “Hopefully, I can get a place in the first-team squad. It is my dream to make my debut in the Premiership next season and that is what I'm working towards.”

The injury also meant the 17-year-old, who has represented the Republic of Ireland at every level from under 15s, missed out on an international under-19 tournament.

But it did give him the opportunity to be at the Ipswich Town Supporters' Club annual awards, where he was presented with the Dale Roberts' Academy Player of the Year that made up a little for missing out playing for club and country.

Clarke said: “In a way it does. I was bitterly disappointed at missing the final but this is a great consolation.

“I was still able to enjoy the cup final win, the lads made be feel very much a part of it. We are all best friends, we work hard for each other on the pitch and look out for each other off it.”

The striker, who was spotted while playing for Maymount U13s in Ireland by Malcolm Moore, chose Town over Aston Villa, Southampton, Leicester City, Manchester City and Everton.

Many insiders at Portman Road had tipped him to be at least a part of the first-team squad this season had he been fit.

After getting tickets for 16 of his family and friends, who travelled over from Ireland for the cup final, Clarke can expect double that many followers when he does makes his senior debut.

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