Ipswich Town’s plan to develop young players will require a lot of patience – Klug

Barry Cotter, 19, produced an exciting debut for Ipswich Town on Tuesday night. Photo: Steve Waller

Barry Cotter, 19, produced an exciting debut for Ipswich Town on Tuesday night. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town caretaker manager Bryan Klug says he’ll give ‘as many minutes for as many young players’ as he possibly can over the remaining four games of the season.

Conor McKendry and Ben Morris are on the fringes of the Ipswich Town first team. Photo: Ross Halls

Conor McKendry and Ben Morris are on the fringes of the Ipswich Town first team. Photo: Ross Halls - Credit: Archant

The mid-table Blues take on Nottingham Forest at The City Ground tomorrow afternoon, before closing the Championship campaign with matches against Aston Villa (h), Reading (a) and Middlesbrough (h).

Academy supremo Klug developed the likes of Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Richard Wright and James Scowcroft in the ‘90s and, after brief spell coaching at Tottenham, returned to Suffolk in 2012 to get the Playford Road production line moving again.

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Teenage duo Barry Cotter and Ben Folami have produced impressive league debuts recently, Tristan Nydam and Myles Kenlock have been in and out the side this season, while the likes of Ben Morris, Aaron Drinan and Conor McKendry are on the fringes.

“I very much think that the development of these players is about finding the right time for them to step up,” said Klug, who has been a player and coach at the club for the best part of 40 years.


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“Listen, I want to get as many minutes for as many young players as we possibly can. Of course I’m going to put them in whenever I can. But you’ve got to be fair and make sure you are putting out a team that is very competitive.”

On the state of Town’s academy in general, he said: “We lost our way for a while, and things are still work in progress, but I’m very pleased at the amount of players that are coming through now.

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“The academy is a big part of (owner) Marcus (Evans’) plan. It’s the best way to get the football club back on line.

“It’s going to require a lot of patience. The whole world thinks everything has to be done now. What we are fighting for is to give boys as much time as possible where they can get into an environment and be tested.

“It is a question of patience. You have to find the right time and the right circumstances for young players.

“I think Mick (McCarthy) would have been dipping them in and out at this stage of the season.

“I spoke to Steve Wigley (head of academy) at Fulham and he said he went and knocked on (Slavisa) Jokanovic’s door and said ‘you’ve got to play this lad (Ryan) Sessegnon now’. I would love to be doing that, but they (Ipswich youngsters) are not quite there.

“I’m saying ‘let’s give them a chance because in two years time he might make a difference’. We have lots of players in that bracket that need 50 games of men’s football before they are judged.

MORE: ‘If something is starting to knit back together then that will be a success for me’ – Klug

“We have a real plan of how to get them to where they need to be. This year has been a little bit disrupted because some of them have actually had to be involved with the first team probably before they should have been.

“The academy staff, led by Lee O’Neill, who is absolutely first class, are making progress. We have to justify all the spending to Marcus and I do think we have a value for money academy.”

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