Jewell backs Osman’s kids

The kids are more than alright.

That is the message from Paul Jewell who has heaped praise on Russell Osman’s Under-18s side and predicted a bright future for Ipswich Town.

While much has been made of Jewell’s ‘Dad’s Army’ thirty-somethings, the manager has clearly been impressed with how the academy players are shaping up.

Jewell said: “I think Russell Osman deserves great credit. Under his guidance, all the lads have come on leaps and bounds. We’ve got some good young players and high hopes for a few of them.”

15-year-old Byron Lawrence made the first team bench for August’s Carling Cup defeat against Northampton Town, but it appears he is just one of many with the likes of Icelandic youngsters Gunnar Thorsteinsson impressing.

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Jewell admitted: “I can’t even say the Icelandic lad’s surname, I just call him Gunnar. But he’s a terrific professional.”

After a fantastic 3-3 draw with Chelsea last weekend, the Under-18s were brought crashing back down to earth a little on Saturday when they conceded four goals in a 20-minute spell, eventually losing 5-2 to Crystal Palace.

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Osman was forced to make a host of changes after a virus spread throughout the team, but there was better news with Nici Schroder starting his first match for over a year having recovered from his knee injury.

Caolan Lavery, whose contract is up in October, did his chances no harm with a 20-yard free-kick to continue his fine recent scoring form but Town conceded four goals before half-time.

Palace added a fifth soon after the restart before a spirited Blues’ fightback ended with Jack Marriott scoring a consolation with a header off a post.

But despite the blip, Jewell will certainly be keeping a keen eye on the youngsters, on and off-the-pitch, in the weeks and months to come.

“The youth team are the nicest bunch of guys we’ve had for a while. Normally you just get people telling you how horrible footballers are,” he joked.

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