Wickham set to play at Histon
CONNOR Wickham is poised to make his first appearance of the summer in an Ipswich Town shirt, at troubled Histon tonight (kick-off 7.45pm), following his glorious European Championship campaign with England Under-17s,
Wickham was rested for Town’s first pre-season friendly, which ended in an emphatic 9-1 win at Newmarket Town on Tuesday evening.
But manager Roy Keane has added Wickham to the squad for the second friendly, and so has every intention of giving his new No. 9 a 45-minute run-out against their Blue Square Premier hosts.
Wickham, a summer target of Tottenham, confirmed his big potential by helping England Under-17s to the European crown in Liechtenstein a month ago. He scored the winner in the final against Spain, having bagged both goals in the semi-final success over France.
Wickham is the one addition to Town’s big squad from Tuesday night. Luciano Civelli, who made a welcome return to match-action with 30 minutes at Newmarket, after 16 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, is expected to play a little longer tonight.
While this evening’s original opponents, Southend United, had to cancel because they couldn’t muster a team, replacement hosts Histon have only just managed to scramble together a squad.
At least a makeshift Histon side will give Town a much-needed second run-out, ahead of the following weekend’s trip to PSV Eindhoven.
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It is unclear exactly how many of Histon’s regular first teamers are signed up for next season - the most optimistic figure is 12, which includes two keepers. That’s why tonight’s squad will be fleshed out with triallists.
Histon are in fact a club in turmoil, following the departures of chairman Tony Roach in April, and chief executive Allen Soraff a fortnight ago.
Director Angelo Dama is currently in charge of day-to-day matters at the Cambridgeshire club, while new boss John Beck, appointed on May 20, has the difficult task of building a squad for next term.
Histon seem destined for another season of struggle in the Blue Square Premier, having avoided relegation on the final day of last season by the skin of their teeth.
A dramatic fall from grace during the second half of the campaign left the Stutes in the relegation zone up until the final few minutes of the season. Then, a goal for Grays against relegation rivals Forest Green Rovers, and their own injury-time equaliser against Barrow, helped the Stutes to cheat relegation by just one point.
Admission at Histon’s Glass World Stadium tonight is �5 for adults and �1 for under-16s.
Meanwhile, Town’s young quartet of Troy Brown, Jack Ainsley, Reggie Lambe and Ian McLoughlin all signed new one-year contracts yesterday.