More to come from Town young guns

DARREN Bent welcomed yet another of his Academy mates into the first team and warned there are more to come.The England Under-21 international scored the equaliser for Ipswich as Town came back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point at Derby County.

DARREN Bent welcomed yet another of his Academy mates into the first team and warned there are more to come.

The England Under-21 international scored the equaliser for Ipswich as Town came back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point at Derby County.

And when Scott Mitchell made his debut in the final couple of minutes it meant half the first team had come through the ranks.

Bent started with Matt Richards and Ian Westlake and was joined by Dean Bowditch in the first half when he went on as substitute for Pablo Counago, who injured a hamstring and will have a scan today to judge the extent of the damage.


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Mitchell's arrival meant 10 players from the Academy have played for the senior side this year, when you include Richard Naylor.

Antonio Murray and Aiden Collins made their Town debut at Pride Park at the end of last season, while Gerard Nash and Matt Bloomfield have enjoyed senior bows this season.

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Although he played in pre-season games for the first team, keeper Lewis Price has yet to see senior competitive action although he has been on the bench for every game this season.

Mitchell, 18, has forced his way into the reckoning with some steadily improving reserve-team games and has stunned his team-mates at his rapid progress.

Bent said: "Scott has come on leaps and bounds in the last three or four months.

"I remember playing against him last season and I got past him quite easily but now he is bigger, stronger, faster and has really improved.

"It was great to see him make his debut, another for the Academy, he is very good and hopefully there are more to come."

Mitchell has been involved with the club since he was a 10-year-old coached by Academy recruitment officer Malcolm Moore.

The Cambridgeshire schoolboy played youth football for Littleport before joining the Academy.

Bent was playing his first Town games since the 2-1 defeat at Sunderland at the end of September after being out with a knee injury. But he topped the 90 minutes off with a goal, as he beat defender Pablo Mills and keeper Lee Grant, two of his England Under-21 international team-mates, to score.

He said: "It was really disappointing to be out for a month but I managed to come back and score a goal.

"Pablo was holding me down but I managed to shrug him off and get free. I got half a yard on him and was able to get up and head the ball in past Granty."

The Derby keeper and Bent were both booked after tangling in the area when the Town striker caught Grant as he went for a loose ball and the young stopper reacted angrily before the pair ended up in a friendly embrace.

Bent said: "Lee didn't realise it was me at first but when he did he calmed down and we had a laugh about it. It was nothing."

Town were without Richard Naylor and Chris Bart-Williams who were suspended but both will be available for the home game with Sheffield United on Saturday November 22 after Blues boss Joe Royle decided to keep the Charlton midfielder for a third month on loan.

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