Irish trialists on show in Norfolk

THREE Irish teenage trialists will play for an Ipswich Town XI in Norfolk today.Niall McArdle, Rory McKeown and Shane O'Connor will all play at Gorleston in a 3pm kick-off.

Stuart Watson


THREE Irish teenage trialists will play for an Ipswich Town XI in Norfolk today.

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Niall McArdle, Rory McKeown and Shane O'Connor will all play at Gorleston in a 3pm kick-off.

McArdle is a Dublin-born centre-back who has just been released by Roy Keane's former club Sunderland - he has represented Ireland at Under-15, U16 and U17 level.

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Cork-born O'Connor is a midfielder turned left-back and has been on Liverpool's books. He started his career at an Irish side called Rockmount - a side Keane played for in his early days - and he names Keane as his footballing hero.

McKeown has played schools football for Northern Ireland. The trio have all been training with the club's youth and reserves sides over the last week.

Troy Brown - the 18-year-old defender who Ipswich have just signed after he was released by Fulham - will make his debut in today's match. The Wales U19 international will play alongside youngsters Jack Ainsley and Reggie Lambe, who are both due to sign professional contracts soon.

Brian Klug, who will take charge of the reserves next season, will take a squad of 17 to Emeralds Park.

Meanwhile, former Ipswich boss Jim Magilton says he will have no problem coping with the opinions and input of QPR chairman Flavio Briatore.

Rangers have had five managers and two caretakers since Briatore took over the club in September 2007, but Magilton told BBC London: “I don't see there is a problem if an owner or a chairman has an opinion.

“We are all managers, supporters and referees. It is a game of opinion. I'll back my decisions win, lose or draw. I'll certainly stand by them.”

Magilton's predecessor Paulo Sousa left the club after just 26 games in charge, revealing that striker Dexter Blackstock's loan move to Nottingham Forest in March was agreed without his knowledge. And Iain Dowie's 15-game spell also came to an end after he clashed with Briatore.

John Gregory was there less than a month after Briatore took charge. And the longest incumbent of his reign so far has been Luigi De Canio, who lasted over six months.

But Magilton admits to having dealt with the same situation in his three seasons in charge at Ipswich Town. He said: “I was at a club where the owner certainly had an input,” he admitted.

And he points to his fearless playing style and self belief as the qualities that will give him the confidence to do the job his way, refusing to accept that he is under any pressure to bring about instant success.

“I don't think you can put me under any pressure,” he said, “because the pressure I put myself under on a daily basis would far outweigh any pressure they put me under.

“We've had a week with the players now and they've been terrific. I know a new manager can bring that but certainly these players have applied themselves.”

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