Ainsley's got one big aim

ONE objective achieved: now Jack Ainsley is looking to go one better and emulate his brother and father at Ipswich Town.

Derek Davis

ONE objective achieved: now Jack Ainsley is looking to go one better and emulate his brother and father at Ipswich Town.

Ainsley has been offered a one-year professional contract and is now looking to do a double that evaded brother Stuart and dad George, who were both at Portman Road, by playing in the first team and winning an FA Youth Cup medal.

Stuart was part of the 2005 Youth Cup-winning side but never played in the first team and is now at Canvey Island. Dad George was a reserve team player in the late 1970s but never made his full debut.

Now the latest from the Trimley-based family is looking to make the big break through.

Jack said: “I'm pleased to have done enough to win a one-year deal and hopefully next season I can go on and catch the eye of the manager.”

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Ainsley, who is looking to help the young Blues get past Watford tomorrow to set up a quarter-final tie at Birmingham City, thanked his team-mates in helping him secure the contract.

He said: “All the boys are hoping to get a contract and we are all fighting to help each other.

“It is the same for all of us - we want to make it and play in the first team.”

It would be extra special for this particular Ainsley who admitted: “It would mean loads to me to make the first team. I have been here watching since I was about five years old

“It would also be special to get a cup medal like Stuart did.”

The 18-year-old started out as a striker but has been successfully converted into a centre half, as he showed on Wednesday when he helped the reserves keep a clean sheet against Luton Town.

Ainsley has had some help from very good people along the way and added: “I feel I play better at centre-half and that is where I see my future.

“Richard Naylor helped me a lot before he went. I played with him a few times and he taught me about my positioning and my all-round game.

“It helps after playing as a striker - you can see what runs they are going to make and it makes it easier to read what they are going to do.”

Although he is a second-year scholar Ainsley has progressed nicely in the reserves where he has gleaned valuable experience when the senior players are included.

He said: “There have been a lot of experienced first team players in the reserves like Iv�n Campo and it is better when they are.

“They help you out and give you extra confidence. I feel I have improved working with them.”

As the more senior member of the Under-18s, Ainsley's maturity and ability will be vital when they take on Watford in their replayed FA Youth Cup fifth-round tie at Portman Road tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

The original game was called off after 88 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch and Ainsley believes that will hold them in good stead against the Hornets.

He said: “It was a good rehearsal and we know what they can do. We have to stick to our game plan and I'm sure it will be fine.

“They were always at us and never gave us any time or space. They were in our faces and made it tight so we know we have to up the tempo, take less touches and move the ball about.”

Town are hoping for a good turn-out at �1 entrance fee for everyone.

Ainsley added: “It is only �1 to get in so hopefully there will be a good crowd coming to watch us. It does make a difference for us.”

A minute's applause will be held before the game for Town fan Ashley Cushion, who died of cancer last month aged just 45.