Young stars press first-team claims

IAN Westlake, Jaime Peters and Danny Haynes all pressed for a first-team squad return with a goal apiece as the Blues stuffed the Canaries 3-0 at Portman Road last night, writes Derek Davis.

Ipswich Town Res3

Norwich City 0

IAN Westlake, Jaime Peters and Danny Haynes all pressed for a first-team squad return with a goal apiece as the Blues stuffed the Canaries 3-0 at Portman Road last night.

With places up for grabs, Town's home-grown youngsters were clearly eager to impress and put in a hard-working, skilful and entertaining shift in front of the Blues boss Joe Royle and coaches.

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Billy Clarke had the crowd gasping and the City defence panting, as he helped his side bring a smile to the faces of Town fans and strengthened his claim for a place against QPR on Saturday.

Although Royle can't strengthen his squad until the window opens in January, he is manouvering behind the scenes to bring in a striker and probably a left-back.

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He said: “Circumstances dictate where we need to add as much as budget will allow and primarily it will be a loan signing we will try and get.”

Scott Barron, who is comfortable in left midfield or at left-back, will press a claim for a new contract before the end of the season. He impressed in defence.

Royle said: “We rated Scott very highly before he had his long-term injury and if he can get back to where he was he has a good chance.”

Norwegian Venum Brekke-Skard will be available in the New Year and he steps up his rehabilitation from a groin operation by returning to light training on Thursday.

Adam Proudlock did not play last night as originally planned after suffering a slight reaction to a knee injury, while Kevin Horlock missed training with a sore knee and Jim Magilton sat out the session with his arthritric toe playing up again.

Westlake and Gerard Nash completed 45 minutes of the reserve game before being replaced by Owen Garvan and Chris Casement as planned.

The eighth minute opener was a goal from a build-up of stunning quality. The move started near the centre circle and Westlake and Clarke combined at such high speed that they cut through the City defence and completely bamboozled experienced central pairing Simon Charlton and Craig Fleming.

Clarke laid the ball in for Westlake, who arrived with pace and poked his 12-yard shot just inside a post to beat Paul Gallagher.

The Scottish international keeper went on to save a Liam Craig penalty and denied Ipswich a raft of other chances in a one-sided contest.

Nash, who was a constant menace at set pieces, won the spot kick after being pushed by Charlton but Gallagher saved well from a well-struck kick.

He also pushed away a thunderous Clarke volley, while Danny Haynes twice went close in the first half.

He got his goal, which he inevitably does against the Canaries, on the hour.

The speedy forward burst through from the right and nodded past a marker before powering in his drive.

Canadian Peters, the only player in the squad not to be or have been an Academy player, wrapped up the game with a marvellous individual goal after Clarke and Darryl Knights had combined to win the ball for him.

The winger beat three defenders before drilling home a low shot from the edge of the area.

Town's next reserve match at home will be played at Needham Market when they entertain Fulham on January 16.

Last night's line-ups

Ipswich Town Res: Supple, Moore, Barron, Westlake (Garvan, 46) Collins, Nash (Casement, 46) Peters, Trotter, Clarke, Haynes (Knights, 72) and Craig. Subs not used: Short and Lordan.

Norwich City Res: Gallacher, Smith, Cole, Howlett, Fleming, Charlton, Kerr (Fulcher, 65) Eagle, Ryan Jarvis, Rossi Jarvis and Asprey (Hunter, 46). Subs not used: Arnold.

Referee: K Wright.

Attendance: 890.

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