Town youngster’s Dutch delight

IPSWICH TOWN: Luke Hyam was the main beneficiary of the Blues weekend trip to play PSV Eindhoven in Holland.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who was an unused substitute three times last season, can expect to feature regularly in Town’s Championship squad this campaign if he maintains the quality of his performance when he appeared as a second half substitute against the top Dutch side.

The locally born player sat in front of the back four and mixed a number of strong challenges – including one that led to a yellow card – with a string of perceptive passes.

Against a side that came third in the Dutch top flight last year he appeared comfortable. Yet he was not the only plus for Ipswich Town on their trip to the continent.

Blues’ supporters made the journey in their hundreds by plane or ferry and then by train or car, and they did themselves proud.

Their presence was picked out for praise by Town manager Roy Keane and acting skipper David Norris, while their behaviour won the hearts of the locals.

Comments from stadium officials, hotel management and staff plus Dutch revellers enjoying a drink late into the night in traditional Dutch city centre bars, confirmed that Ipswich Town’s good name was continued.

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And Keane’s approach has come in for much praise from Town supporters in recent days firstly by signing 200 autographs with picture taking after games at both Newmarket Town and Histon and then by congenially mixing – along with his players - with Blues fans in the team’s Eindhoven hotel.

Norris can see Hyam becoming a good player, and he revealed why he would rather have the teenager on his side than against.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of some of his tackles and they can hurt,” said Norris.

“Luke did very well in Eindhoven and he is quietly confident and is never fazed when he trains with the senior squad.

“He just gets on with things and has a great attitude to go with his talent.”

Skipper Jon Walters, Damien Delaney and Colin Healy missed the Dutch trip because of injury, while Carlos Edwards missed out for personal reasons – playing instead for a young Town side at Ridgeons League Great Yarmouth on Saturday afternoon.

Tommy Smith also missed the Eindhoven game, but he is now back in training after taking a break following his exploits with New Zealand in this summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Smith, a natural left footed player, is expected to compete with Alex Bruce for the central defensive role that needs to be filled with Delaney expected to be out for three months.

Many Town fans watched the 1-0 defeat in Holland on the internet after tracking down a foreign site that showed the match live.

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