Knights signs pro deal

IPSWICH Town have started their preparations for next season by securing striker Darryl Knights to a professional contract, writes Derek Davis.The young England international, who turned 17 at the beginning of the month, made his first-team debut at Sunderland as a substitute back in November, although he has not figured since.

IPSWICH Town have started their preparations for next season by securing striker Darryl Knights to a professional contract, writes Derek Davis.

The young England international, who turned 17 at the beginning of the month, made his first-team debut at Sunderland as a substitute back in November, although he has not figured since.

He was part of the Blues side that won the FA Youth Cup and along with Billy Clarke is regarded as a bright young prospect.

The Blues' coaching staff met yesterday to discuss which players will be kept on and who will be released or offered on free transfers and to finalise arrangements for pre-season friendlies.


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The squad reassembles on July 4 for training and Town will kick off with a trip to Boston United on Saturday, July 16. A short pre-season trip, possibly to Italy, is still being discussed. Other fixtures have yet to be confirmed, although Town will wrap up the programme with a trip to League One side Colchester United, at Layer Road on Tuesday, August 2.

The league fixtures will be released on Thursday, June 23 and the Championship season kicks off on Saturday, August 6.

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Meanwhile, Jason De Vos, who is likely to be the Blues captain next season if Jim Magilton does leave the club, believes the Town have much to celebrate, despite losing out to West Ham in the play-offs for a second year running.

The Canadian said: "You have to put things in perspective. At the beginning of the season most pundits thought we would be lucky to make the play-offs yet in the end we were gutted not to get one of the top two positions, or even win the league, when we were in a good position to do so.

"Regardless of what happened against West Ham this has been a successful season for us.

"The younger players have more experience, we have some wonderful players coming through the youth team that won their FA Cup.

"So for the club as a whole it has been a great season."

De Vos is confident that Town can continue to make progress and is already looking forward to getting together with his team-mates for next season.

He added: "We have a unique group of players here in the sense that we don't get overly excited when we are winning and we don't get overly depressed when we lose. We keep a pretty even keel."

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