Injury hits Town's cup hopes

Ipswich Town's hopes of lifting the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 30 years have been hit by an injury to mercurial striker Billy Clarke.The Irish Under-19 striker was carried off in the latter stages of Wednesday's 2-1 semi-final second leg win over Spurs at White Hart Lane.

By Dave Vincent

Ipswich Town's hopes of lifting the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 30 years have been hit by an injury to mercurial striker Billy Clarke.

The Irish Under-19 striker was carried off in the latter stages of Wednesday's 2-1 semi-final second leg win over Spurs at White Hart Lane.

He was on the receiving end of a clumsy challenge near the end of the 90 minutes. And though it led directly to Aidan Collins' clinching second goal Clarke, one of the stars of this thrilling Youth Cup run, could miss out on both legs of the final.

He was on crutches yesterday.

He won't feature in Monday's first leg against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium, and he remains a doubt for the second leg at Portman Road on Friday. Both games kick off at 7.45pm.

Most Read

Clarke was targeted for some tough challenges at White Hart Lane and his knee was injured in that last foul.

Academy director Bryan Klug said: “It was a very bad challenge and Billy will be struggling.”

Defender Collins, scorer of Town's second goal at White Hart Lane, said: “Billy caused their defenders problems all game. He is a great player and if he is out it will be a big blow for us.

“But we have got a great squad and spirit and it will give the opportunity for somebody else to come in.”

Ipswich last won the FA Youth Cup in 1975 and Town legend John Wark was part of that team.

He went on to win the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Ipswich and also starred for Liverpool and Scotland.

He said: “I will be there to cheer the lads on and I firmly believe they can win the trophy to put Ipswich firmly in the national spotlight.

“It's going to be a big, big occasion for the club and something the players will remember for the rest of their lives.

“The FA Youth Cup success in 1975 was definitely one of my career highlights.”

Ticket prices for the second leg of the FA Youth Cup final at Portman Road next Friday are £8 for adults and £1 for children.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter