The kids are alright - Humes

DEPOSED academy manager Tony Humes today reassured Blues supporters that there are talented youngsters still coming through the famed Ipswich Town youth system.

Elvin King

DEPOSED academy manager Tony Humes today reassured Blues supporters that there are talented youngsters still coming through the famed Ipswich Town youth system.

Humes departed Portman Road suddenly last month and is now out of work.

But he had a message for Ipswich followers who are concerned that the source of talent that has served the Tractor Boys so well over the last 30 years is drying up.


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“There are a number of good players coming through the academy,” said Humes, a former Town player. “They are there for all to see and I don't think there is any doubt about it.”

There has been a reduction in players coming off the youth conveyor belt at Playford Road in recent years.

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Ipswich have not taken their foot off the pedal when it comes to producing their own players, but there has been a marked stepping up in the search for experienced additions to manager Jim Magilton's squad.

Many thousands of pounds have been spent on improving the scouting network to take in the globe with the appointment of Simon Hunt as international scout last summer.

Along with chief scout Steve McCall, Hunt spent considerable time in Argentina looking at Town's new �1million signing Luciano Civelli, and it has become increasingly harder nationwide for youngsters to break into the game.

The likes of Kurt Robinson, Ed Upson and Jai Reason on Town's books were tipped for stardom a couple of years ago, but have been unable to find their way into Magilton's first team plans.

And Billy Clarke, Liam Trotter, Dean Bowditch, Chris Casement and Jordan Rhodes all made their way into Magilton's side, but have failed to push on and have been overtaken by the likes of imported Dutch youngster Pim Balkestein.

Despite this, Humes is confident first team players will still be produced by Ipswich with 15-year-old striker Connor Wickham someone who is currently standing out.

Town play a fifth round FA Youth Cup game at home to Watford on Monday when Blues fans will have a chance to measure the credentials of the current batch of Under-18s.

Bryan Klug was instrumental in overseeing the production of Richard Wright, Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Darren Ambrose, Owen Garvan, Shane Supple and Danny Haynes during his time as academy director.

Following the appointment of John Gorman as assistant manager, Klug has changed positions from first team coach to become head of player development and scouting and is now spending more time back working with youngsters.

Following the transfer of Richard Naylor to Leeds United, Town are unlikely to appoint a new club captain. Naylor had the post to help team captain Gareth McAuley settle into the club.

Saturday's Ipswich Championship game at Swansea is in no danger with the Welsh club confident they will be able to cope with any adverse weather conditions at their new stadium. The Ipswich squad were travelling to Wales today.

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