Ipswich Town youngster could make his Leiston debut at home to Wealdstone in Ryman Premier

Tom Winter

Tom Winter - Credit: James Ager

Ipswich Town youngster Tom Winter could make his debut for Leiston, at home to Ryman League Premier Division leaders Wealdstone today.

The 19-year-old striker, who will not be offered a new deal by Town boss Mick McCarthy, has joined the Victory Road club, initially on loan.

However, a two-year deal has been agreed in principle for Winter, who scored four goals in six games during a similar spell last season.

“I’ve always maintained that we are getting a good balance of exciting, young professionals, or similar, who are keen to progress into the professional game, alongside our experienced personel,” said boss Steve Ball.

“Tom has huge potential and it’s a great move for him to get some match-time under his belt following his injury, and we can also offer him the opportunity to get back into the pro game.

“Whilst the next month or so is a loan deal, we have agreed a permanent two-year deal once his contract expires with Ipswich, which is great news for the club.”

Winter and his new team-mates have been tasked with gatecrashing the end-of-season Ryman League Premier Division play-offs.

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If that wasn’t hard enough, there is also the small matter of a home game against the champions-elect today.

The Stones have fallen short in the play-offs the last two seasons, but with a six-point advantage at the top, plus three games in hand on their rivals, they look a strong bet to reach Skrill South.

Leiston’s slim hopes of reaching the play-offs remain after a spirited draw at fourth-placed Bognor Regis Town last week.

“We are all excited with the challenge ahead,” said Ball.

“Wealdstone are a quality side, the best in the division, but we’ll give it our best and we know it’s probably our play-off final.

“Although the gap (12 points between Leiston and the top-five) seems large, results went our way in midweek so who knows?

“We’ve recently taken seven points from a possible nine against sides of the calibre of Bognor, Maidstone and Margate, which is a fantastic return, and we want our run to continue.”

The Blues will be boosted by the return of former Bury midfielder Craig Parker, who missed last week’s trip to Bognor.