Connor... a man among boys

CONNOR Wickham will be the Ipswich Town trump card when they play Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in the third round of the FA Youth Cup tonight.

Carl Marston

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

CONNOR Wickham will be the Ipswich Town trump card when they play Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in the third round of the FA Youth Cup tonight.

Wickham, a regular England Under-17 international, has made 11 first team appearances and he scored twice in Town's Carling Cup game at Shrewsbury in August.

The 16-year-old striker, who will also be eligible for the Youth Cup next season, has attracted the interest of a number of Premier League clubs.

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He cannot sign permanent Town forms until his 17th birthday in the spring with Blues boss Roy Keane hoping that the youngster is not enticed away in the meantime.

Wickham has mixed appearances this term between the first team, reserves and the youth team, but with his physical prowess, pace and eye for a goal he could be a match winner tonight.

Town have won this coveted trophy three times the last in 2005, and Sammy Morgan the head of the academy confirmed: “This is a competition that every club wants to win and one that we are looking forward to playing in.”

Town have not enjoyed the best of results in the academy Under-18 league in recent weeks losing to Norwich City in their last game on November 21.

It was October 10 when they enjoyed their last victory - a 3-2 success over Arsenal with Wickham scoring twice.

Italian Under-16 international Mirko Ranieri will play in goal as regular youth team keeper Ian McLoughlin was 18 in August and considered too old for the Youth Cup.

NOTE: Possible add squad if one comes across on Tuesday.