Byron Lawrence set to become Ipswich Town’s second youngest debutant

SCHOOLBOY Byron Lawrence looks set to become Ipswich Town’s second-youngest debutant before the end of the season, with manager Paul Jewell confirming that he plans to give the 16-year-old ‘some game time’ during the final four matches.

The midfielder – who was on the bench for the Carling Cup tie against Northampton last August – warmed up with the first team before Monday’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester in the Championship.

Town play at Crystal Palace tomorrow, host Birmingham next Tuesday and then finish their season with games against Millwall (h) and Doncaster (a).

And with little to play for, Jewell says he is likely to give 16-year-old Lawrence his first team debut before the season comes to a close.

“We’ll try and get him some game time,” said the Blues boss. “He’s been off school for the last two weeks (Easter holidays) and he’s been training with us.

“You forget he’s only 16. We’ve got high hopes for Byron and we’ll try and get him some game time between now and the end of the season.”

If Lawrence is involved at Crystal Palace tomorrow aged 16 years and 33 days, he’ll be younger than Jason Dozzell was when he made his first team debut – and scored – as a sub against Coventry in February 1984 at 16 years and 57 days old.

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Connor Wickham will remain Town’s youngest-ever debutant though as he came on as a sub in the 3-1 home defeat to Doncaster in April 2009 aged 16years and 11 days.

Cambridgeshire-based Lawrence, who was recruited from non-league Histon’s youth set-up and becomes a full-time scholar this summer, was previously described as a ‘Jack Wilshere type player’ by Jewell. He has played for the reserves on several occasions this season, operating out wide or in a free role behind a lone striker.

– See tomorrow’s EADT for full match preview.