Chairman's hope

CHAIRMAN David Sheepshanks confirmed today that he is hoping Ipswich Town will be playing in a Championship reserve league next season.He wants a new structure formed, and discussions are already taking place.

By Elvin King

CHAIRMAN David Sheepshanks confirmed today that he is hoping Ipswich Town will be playing in a Championship reserve league next season.

He wants a new structure formed, and discussions are already taking place.

And if it comes to fruition, Ipswich will be pitting their wits against sides of a similar standard rather than the second elevens of clubs like Conference League Stevenage.

“We are still spitting blood after the Premier League kicked us out of their reserve league giving us just two months to find an alternative for this season,” said Sheepshanks.

“Midlands clubs prefer to play ad hoc games against each other leaving teams in the north and the south - with larger distances to travel - in the lurch.

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“We are trying to get over the difficulties and form a Championship reserve league for 2007/08.”

Stevenage provided rather stout opposition in last night's game at Portman Road that saw Ipswich cement their lead at the top of the Pontin's Holidays Combination. Town have lost just one game all season.

Jordan Rhodes and trialist Joe Francis scored the goals with Rhodes netting from close-in in the 34th minute following an astute pass from Jai Reason.

Francis completed the scoring on the hour after a deep cross from Martin Brittain gave him time to beat Ipswich-based Stevenage keeper Daniel Potter.

Francis, 20, is currently on trial with Town after catching the eye of Ipswich scouts playing for Woodbridge Town in the Ridgeons League. And he did his chances of an Ipswich contract no harm with a promising display.

The apprentice plasterer was joined in the Town team by George O'Callaghan and the recent £50,000 signing from Cork City played up front for an hour before settling back in midfield.

His experience and pedigree shone through at times on a night when a few of the visiting youngsters made the most of playing in such high class surroundings.

Potter, who went to St Joseph's College and was a left-back with Ipswich as a schoolboy before playing for Chelsea, Colchester and Canvey Island, was the busier of the two keepers although Town skipper Shane Supple had to make a couple of saves.

Town manager Jim Magilton watched from the stands, and Aidan Collins had a good game as he recovers from injury.

Ed Upson (Ipswich), and Paul White (Stevenage), were both booked within seconds of coming on to the field. Jack Bradshaw was carried off on a stretcher but tests revealed no broken bones.

Ipswich Town: Supple, Casement, Barron, Reason (sub Upson 52 mins), Synnott, Collins, Brittain, Trotter, O'Callaghan (Leabon 71), Rhodes, Francis (Fenn 85). Sub: Short.

Stevenage Borough: Potter, Bradshaw (White 53), A Iwediuno, Moss, Hatton, Pepper, Dobson (Sealey 65), Balderson, Thomas, Sullivan (Mackie 73), Hocker. Subs: D Iwediuno, Davidge.

Referee: Mr S Beck.

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