Joe's second chance

IPSWICH Town's gain could be Norwich City's loss after 20-year-old Joe Francis fulfilled a dream at Portman Road on Wednesday night.The Woodbridge Town front man impressed - and scored one of the goals - in a 2-0 victory over Stevenage Borough reserves.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's gain could be Norwich City's loss after 20-year-old Joe Francis fulfilled a dream at Portman Road on Wednesday night.

The Woodbridge Town front man impressed - and scored one of the goals - in a 2-0 victory over Stevenage Borough reserves.

Francis had a trial with Norwich City as a 13-year-old, but was told that he did not possess enough speed over 10 yards.


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Now he stands on the threshold of signing an Ipswich Town contract, having impressed the Ipswich management with his natural ability.

“I never dreamt that I would one day play at Portman Road or be involved with my home town professional club,” said Francis.

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He is an example to youngsters who miss out on the Academy system - like Ian Miller from Bury Town who signed for Town earlier this season.

“I am not taking anything for granted,” added Francis an apprentice plasterer who has been given time off work to train with Ipswich for the next two weeks.

“I am chuffed to have this opportunity, and if I do not make it I shall at least go back to Woodbridge a much better player.”

Francis had to be loaned to Ipswich for the night as he is under contract with Ridgeons League Woodbridge with a fee of around £10,000 believed to be on his head.

Town manager Jim Magilton watched the game sitting next to Woodbridge boss Micky Stockwell, and said: “Joe took his goal well and had a good game. We will continue to look at him.”

Noticed by former Ipswich Town coach Peter Trevivian at the SETEC soccer scheme at Copleston Sports College, Francis played for Witnesham Wasps as a youth and Westerfield in the Metaltec SIL before being recommended by Trevivian to Woodbridge.

“I am not fully match fit yet and cannot last 90 minutes, but it is coming,” said Francis, who also netted for Town in a behind-closed-doors game against Millwall last week.

He is continuing his plastering course at Otley College on Fridays - and is expected to be back in the Woodbridge side tomorrow.

“The hours are shorter being a footballer, but I go home much more tired than when I am plastering,” said Francis.

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