Blues' plea to AWOL youngster

IPSWICH Town are trying to coax young striker Paul Murphy into retuning back to Portman Road after he went AWOL following the Christmas break.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town are trying to coax young striker Paul Murphy into retuning back to Portman Road after he went AWOL following the Christmas break.

The 17-year-old is home with his parents in the Republic of Ireland after suffering severe homesickness and is considering packing in professional football.

Town coaches have been in touch with the highly-rated striker who has represented his country at every level up to Under-19s trying to convince him to come back to Ipswich and resume his footballing career.


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A club spokesperson said: “Paul was given two weeks off with the rest of the academy scholars at Christmas. At the moment, he is still back home with his family in Ireland and is suffering with homesickness. It happens with young players and the academy staff are staying in constant touch with Paul and his family.”

Wexford-born Murphy was recruited by Town scouts after being spotted playing for the famous Home Farm side in Dublin, the team he joined from Wexford Albion. He had seen the likes of Owen Garvan, Shane Supple and Michael Synnott, sign for Ipswich from Home Farm and decided to follow them over in 2005.

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The episode is reminiscent of when Garvan had an extended leave of absence in the summer of 2007 when he went back to Dublin for personal reasons and took some convincing to return.

In a separate issue, Academy manager Tony Humes has left the club as part of the significant review of the football side of the business. A Town spokesman last night confirmed Humes' departure but would not elaborate.

He said: “Matters between the club and its employees are confidential. Therefore, we have no further comment to make at this time.”

Towards the end of the year John Gorman came in as Jim Magilton's assistant with Bryan Klug being made head of development, scouting and fitness.

Meanwhile, Connor Wickham has been called into the England Under-16 squad to face Germany next month.

The 15-year-old Ipswich Town Academy striker, pictured, earned the recognition after hitting a hat-trick in the Blues' extra time 4-2 win over Crystal Palace in the FA Youth Cup last week.

- Town defender Chris Casement, who is currently on loan at Wycombe Wanderers, is included the Northern Ireland Under-21s squad to take on Wales in Ballemena, also on February 17.

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