Youngsters are keeping senior professionals on their toes, says Ipswich Town skipper

Myles Kenlock heads towards goal during the first half of the Ipswich Town v Milton Keynes Dons (Cha

Myles Kenlock heads towards goal during the first half of the Ipswich Town v Milton Keynes Dons (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 30 April 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Luke Chambers insists no-one’s place is safe at Ipswich Town, ahead of teenage midfielder Adam McDonnell’s first Championship start, and has urged the club’s starlets to keep up their pursuit of Mick McCarthy’s main men.

Ex-Shelbourne youngster McDonnell, 18, has made one start for Town, in the League Cup victory at Doncaster earlier this season, and will be hoping to put in the sort of performance that earned teenage defenders Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock positive reviews last weekend against MK Dons.

Kenlock will start again for Town tomorrow, in the season finale at Derby, with Jonas Knudsen (knee) still out, but Emmanuel is likely to make way for Chambers, who missed last Saturday’s 3-2 win at Portman Road with an ankle injury.

Despite his swift return, Chambers does not sense complacency in the ranks and said places were always up for grabs.

“I don’t think the players feel their places are safe and we are always trying to improve each other,” said Chambers.

“Josh and Myles are only 18 and 19, but they are physically ready for playing league games as they are big boys and can handle themselves.

“They are going to be looking to start next year and that will take us to another level – it’s the competition we need.

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“It can’t just be the same back four week-in, week-out with the players in the first-team knowing that whatever happens, that they’re the back four.

“We (defence) have probably conceded too many goals for our liking this season and that is something to work on.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy is delighted with the emergence of youngsters such as Emmanuel, Kenlock, McDonnell and Andre Dozzell, but insists their impact can’t paper over the cracks of an ultimately disappointing campaign.

“If we’re sat here now in the top-six, then everyone’s buzzing and that (youth players’ emergence) is a nice aside,” explained McCarthy.

“I’m not trying to use that as some sort of fabulous end to the season, bury the bad news with some good news, but it’s progress for the club.”