Town hope England U21 visit will see young fans converted

Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha in action for England Under-21s

Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha in action for England Under-21s - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town hope to acquire a whole new legion of young fans tonight.

Norwich's Nathan Redmond in action for the England Under-21s

Norwich's Nathan Redmond in action for the England Under-21s - Credit: Archant

The England Under-21 side – including rising stars such as Wilfried Zaha, Ravel Morrison and Norwich City’s Nathan Redmond – take on their Lithuanian counterparts at Portman Road in a 6pm kick-off, with the game having captured the imagination in East Anglia.

When the Three Lions played at Reading’s Madjeski Stadiujm last month the game attracted a crowd of just 5,268, but already more than 13,000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow tea time’s European Championship qualifier, with all four sides of the ground open as a result.

Numbers have been boosted thanks to more than 100 schools from Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk taking up the opportunity to bring large groups of children to the match.

Many of them will be experiencing live football for the first time, with the hope being that several will catch the football bug and want to return to Portman Road on Saturday for Town’s match against Championship table-toppers Burnley.

After that, the Friday night visit of Barnsley (November 1) represents a chance for Town season ticket holders to bring along four extra people at just £10 a ticket, while there will be a ‘kids for a quid’ offer when Leicester come to town on November 23.

“It’s an honour for the club to be hosting an England international and we’re delighted that we should have a good crowd for the game,” said Ian Milne, one of Ipswich’s joint managing directors.

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“We realise that some fans, particularly the younger ones, will be coming to the club for the first time.

“We hope they enjoy the matchday atmosphere at Portman Road and obviously we’d love to see them return here through the season and become supporters of Ipswich Town.”

Gareth Southgate’s young Three Lions won 4-0 in San Marino last Friday night and today are training at the Five Lakes Hotel complex near Maldon in Essex.

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