Youngsters impress for reserves
AS Ipswich Town's play-off hopes look ever diminishing and with a large exodus expected in the summer, Ipswich Town youngsters are being pushed on ready to step into the shoes of the stars.
AS Ipswich Town's play-off hopes look ever diminishing and with a large exodus expected in the summer, Ipswich Town youngsters are being pushed on ready to step into the shoes of the stars, writes Derek Davis.
Goals from Nabil Abidallah, at 20 the oldest in the team, schoolboy Aidan Collins and skipper Ian Westlake, gave a young reserve side a splendid 3-1 come-from-behind win over Wimbledon.
Particularly pleasing for reserve-team boss Steve McCall was the way the predominantly teenage side gelled to recover after Nico Herzig had headed the Dons ahead from a Dean Lewington corner four minutes before the break.
With contracts expiring for four first-teamers in the summer, and more having to be sold, Joe Royle knows he will need to rely heavily on Academy players coming through quicker than normal to supplement his squad.
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It is McCall's job, in tango with Bryan Klug, Ian Smith and the rest of the Academy staff, to ease them through.
McCall said: "It is the way we have to go. We have brought through the two Darrens and Matt Richards of late, with Dean Bowditch on the fringes and more will follow.
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"It is what this club has been built on over the years and now the financial implications mean we have to try and bring on our players.
"That is why we have schoolboys playing in the reserves, we have a good crop of players coming through and we will need them. We can't afford 10 or 12 fringe players as we have had in the past."