Garvan could be back

HOLDERS Ipswich begin their defence of the FA Youth Cup at Leeds tonight.Coach Bryan Klug and his players headed for Yorkshire yesterday afternoon for this evening's tough test under the Elland Road floodlights, kick-off 7pm.

By Mel Henderson

HOLDERS Ipswich begin their defence of the FA Youth Cup at Leeds tonight.

Coach Bryan Klug and his players headed for Yorkshire yesterday afternoon for this evening's tough test under the Elland Road floodlights, kick-off 7pm.

The game could mark a return to action for Irish midfielder Owen Garvan, who also has one eye on Saturday's first-team clash with Wolves at Portman Road.


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Garvan, 17, was absent from the decisive second leg of last season's final against Southampton because he was in hospital following a meningitis scare.

He has missed Town's last seven games since picking up a nasty ankle injury in the home draw with Coventry which, when X-rayed, revealed a chipped bone.

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Klug said: “Owen has trained for the last couple of days without any problems and although his main focus is on the game at the weekend he could feature for at least part of the game against Leeds.”

With Republic of Ireland youth international goalkeeper Shane Supple now ineligible on age grounds, Icelandic youngster Oskar Petursson will be making his debut in the national competition which Ipswich have won on three occasions - in 1973, 1975 and 2005.

He has been nursing a thigh problem but Klug expects him to play, although Stowupland High School pupil Andy Plummer is standing by just in case.

Nine members of the Ipswich squad featured in last season's tournament, including Bury St Edmunds schoolboy Ed Upson, who scored the dramatic late winner against the young Saints.

Klug added: “We couldn't really have wished for a tougher start to our defence of the trophy, but at the same time we would much rather be going to a venue like Elland Road ahead of some of the others on offer.

“A number of last season's players are still eligible but there is a different balance to the team and, while we improved steadily with each round last season, we are starting with a much more difficult challenge than we did at the same stage last year [at home to Portsmouth].”

Former Ipswich left-back Neil Thompson is Klug's equivalent at Leeds and his table-topping team have only been beaten once in their last nine outings.

Klug said: “Neil is a good friend of mine and Ipswich Town, and he is doing an excellent job at Leeds. We know it is not going to be easy for us up there.”

Ipswich squad: Petursson, Plummer, Moore, Casement, Short, Ainsley, Haynes, Trotter, Garvan, Upson, Clarke, Knights, Robinson, Haverson, Leabon, Webster, Sheringham, Fenn and Boto.

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