Bryan defends Town academy

BRYAN Klug today defended the Ipswich Town academy, and forecasted that its role will become more important when the club is taken over by Marcus Evans.

By Elvin King

BRYAN Klug today defended the Ipswich Town academy, and forecasted that its role will become more important when the club is taken over by Marcus Evans.

The Blues first team coach, who ran the academy for many years, said there is a rich vein of talent coming through.

However, only one player produced by the club - Owen Garvan - was in the starting line-up of Saturday's 3-1 Coca-Cola Championship defeat at Charlton.

It remains to be seen if Garvan, Billy Clarke, Danny Haynes, Liam Trotter or Shane Supple make it into the first XI for tonight's game against Leicester City at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).

Klug is convinced that Ipswich's long-term future is in good hands even though Garvan at present looks the only one of the five certain to make a big impact in the game. He said: “You only had to witness the 5-3 FA Youth Cup victory at Queens Park Rangers last week to prove the young talent we are bringing through. And slightly further down the scale our Under-16s have won their last 12 matches.

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“There is a rich vein of talent, with a number of youngsters on the fringe of the first team squad. We need the likes of Billy Clarke, Chris Casement, Shane Supple and Liam Trotter to kick-on now and make an impact.”

While that four have already reached first team level, Klug and manager Jim Magilton are looking to striker Jordan Rhodes, midfielder Ed Upson and central defender Tommy Smith to improve enough to feature in a Championship squad before the end of this campaign.

And although the provision of £12million once entrepreneur Evans takes over next week will give Magilton the wherewithal to attract players, Klug sees the role of the academy increasing.

He added: “Our successful and admired youth set-up is one of the reasons Mr Evans was attracted to Ipswich.

“He sees the continuation of producing our own youngsters very important, and something to concentrate on.”

Tony Humes took over as academy manager when Klug stepped up to work with the first team following Magilton's appointment with the young Blues winning the FA Youth Cup in 2004/5.

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