Flying visit to Scotland

Academy director Bryan Klug met up with friends old and new on a flying visit to Scotland last week.He was north of the border to meet coaches and parents of boys who have been down to Suffolk for trials.

Academy director Bryan Klug met up with friends old and new on a flying visit to Scotland last week.

He was north of the border to meet coaches and parents of boys who have been down to Suffolk for trials.

There are several Scots in the academy at present including Liam Craig and Fraser Beveridge who have been doing well, especially in the thrilling FA Youth Cup run.

Klug dropped in on former Town coach Tony Mowbray, who is making great progress as manager of Hibs in the SPL.

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The ex-Ipswich clan at Hibernian includes Sammy Morrow, Antonio Murray and Chris Hogg.

There will be no Under-18 or Under-16 fixtures today, Arsenal had been due to provide the opposition, and all weekend training and fixture have been called off due to the worsening weather.

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The schoolboy fixtures on Sunday were due to be against Norwich City.

Ipswich were looking forward to taking on Arsenal who, with their resources and big catchment area, are always one of the strongest teams at this level.

When Arsenal come to Town you can always expect to see a few stars of the future.

Arsenal's first team is packed with foreign players and some of those who played against Sheffield United in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday still qualify by age to represent the Under-18s.

And though Arsenal have the pick of young English talent from across London and beyond, their international scouting system is also bringing in more talented teenagers.

That system has been knocked by some English players who failed to make the breakthrough to the first team at Highbury.

Steve Sidwell, rated by many as the best midfielder in the Championship, has done so at Reading, having been denied a chance at Highbury.

He said: “The young English players don't stand a chance at Arsenal. Apart from the legions of foreign internationals at the club there are also plenty of foreign junior players who fail to make the grade but are picked to play for the reserve sides so that they can be sold.”

The Arsenal Youth Cup-winning side, which beat Ipswich Town's talented side in the two-legged semi-finals a few years ago, included the likes of Jermaine Pennant, Jeremie Aliadiere and Jerome Thomas, who were star players.

Ipswich had 17-year-olds Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose, Matt Bloomfield, Ian Westlake and Lee Beevers in their side as well as Matt Richards, who was a year younger.

Pennant, a big-money signing from Notts County, and French striker Aliadiere have had limited opportunities in the first team.

Winger Thomas, like so many of their youth products, has moved on and is now at Charlton Athletic.

He won FA Youth Cup medals, and scored in the final, in successive years, did well on loan at QPR but found himself well down the pecking order for first-team games.

He was behind Gael Clichy, Aliadiere, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and David Bentley in the quest for a first-team chance.

Charlton snapped him up in the January transfer window, a year ago, for just £100,000.

Despite being offered an extended contract at Highbury he joined Alan Curbishley at the Valley.

When the young Gunners come here fans have the chance to spot the few who will make the first team as well as others who will end up at other clubs.

“Arsenal and Southampton, who we play next, are two of the best teams in our league so it will be a big test for us, ideal though before we take on Colchester in the Youth Cup.

“Michael Synnott has had his operation and won't be involved and we have a few other injury niggles.

“Gerard Nash came through the last game without any reaction and could have been involved against Arsenal.

“He has been out a long while and we will take it carefully.”

There is a reserve fixture in midweek before the visit to Southampton next Saturday.

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