Final place at stake

Ipswich Town's youngsters take a 2-0 lead to White Hart Lane tonight (kick-off 7pm) bidding to win the club's first major cup trophy since the UEFA Cup final in 1981.

By Dave Vincent

Ipswich Town's youngsters take a 2-0 lead to White Hart Lane tonight (kick-off 7pm) bidding to win the club's first major cup trophy since the UEFA Cup final in 1981.

It is actually 30 years since the FA Youth Cup graced the boardroom at Portman Road when Bobby Robson's starlets won the trophy twice in three years, 1973 and 1975.

The year between it was tonight's hosts, Spurs, who won the trophy, with Glenn Hoddle in the team.


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And Hoddle has an interest in the competition this time as his Wolves Academy kids are in the other semi-final against Southampton. The Saints lead 1-0 from their first leg.

The 4,000-plus crowd at a bitterly cold Portman Road on Friday were warmed by a sparkling display of controlled attacking football by Town. And though they only had goals by Liam Trotter and Billy Clarke to show for it there is a promise of more to come.

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Spurs will consider the tie is not over at 2-0 and manager Patsy Holland will have his squad up for the challenge. It is a big prize for any young player.

Ipswich fans who have spoken to me since have enthused about the team's passing and movement and fine individual performances from the likes of Billy Clarke, Owen Garvan, Chris Casement and Michael Synnott.

Synnott was having his first game back after several weeks out following an operation, in place of left-back James Krause, who had been ill. Krause returns to the squad.

Academy director Bryan Klug said: “Friday's was a fantastic game of football. We were quite pleased with it.

“It is a completely different game tonight.

“That is in the past and we have to look forward. We are going to try and win the second game.

“Although we did OK and everybody did a bit, we know we can play a little bit better and that is what we will try to do.

“We had some problems in the first half we had to overcome.

“It will be a similar team tonight. They have done fantastically well to get this far and they now have a chance to get to the final, which is nice for any young player.

“It is a big opportunity that will live with them.

“The boys have done extremely well this year, not just in the cup.

“There has been tremendous improvement but it is a long year and I just hope the boys don't run out of steam, some of them are getting tired.”

Education officer Sammy Morgan, the former Northern Ireland international striker, will be taking a look at the other semi-final between Wolves and Saints tonight, in case Town get through.

“We don't know a lot about the Wolves youngsters,” Morgan said.

One regular visitor to the training centre, Steve Vale, showed the youngsters his own prize football possession, his 1973 FAYC winners medal with Ipswich.

He now works in the fruit and veg business.

“I went down to the game on Friday night and I was very impressed with the Ipswich lads. I will be there for the final if they make it,” he said.

Ticket prices tonight are £4 for adults, £2 concessions/children.

The other semi-final second leg is taking place at Molineux.

The FA Youth Cup final is also over two games, next Monday and Friday, live on Sky television. If Ipswich get through, they will be away in the first leg.

Squads

Tottenham Hotspur: Forecast, Ifil, Riley, Lee, Mills, Wright, Davis, Maghoma, Lewis, O'Hara, Daniels, Barcham, Dawkins, Button, Hamed, Archibald-Henville, Holloway and Fenla.

Ipswich Town: Supple, Moore, Krause, Casement, Collins, Beveridge, Trotter, Lordan, Garvan, Craig, Knights, Clarke, Reynolds, Haynes, Sheringham, Synnott, Ainsley, Hammond and Haverson.

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