Francis feels he can still do it

THE only place plasterer Joe Francis felt out of place during his recent trial period with Ipswich Town was in the car park.“Parking my L reg. Vauxhall Corsa next to all the 4x4s was a humbling experience,” said the Woodbridge Town striker.

By Elvin King

THE only place plasterer Joe Francis felt out of place during his recent trial period with Ipswich Town was in the car park.

“Parking my L reg. Vauxhall Corsa next to all the 4x4s was a humbling experience,” said the Woodbridge Town striker.

“But the Ipswich management, coaches and players were great and it was a fantastic experience.”

The 20-year-old's fairytale step into the world of professional football ended when Magilton told Francis that he would not be taking him on full time.

But Francis still believes he can make the grade in the professional game.

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“It was a blow, but I could understand the reasoning,” added Francis, who played two

Combination games for Ipswich scoring against Stevenage at Portman Road and facing Norwich City at Carrow Road.

“I went into the trial with nothing and came out a much better footballer.

“Now that I have a taste I would like some more, and hopefully something might happen in the summer. It is a waiting game now.”

Magilton has said that he will recommend Francis, who is currently under contract with Woodbridge, to other professional clubs.

The left-footed player did well in training earning good reports and adapting well.

But he said: “I needed to improve my stamina and strength as I was not lasting 90 minutes.

“It is a huge step up from Ridgeons League football to the Championship and realistically I knew I had to really step up my game to get taken on.

“Everybody made me very welcome with the likes of Sammy Moore and George O'Callaghan particularly helpful.”

Francis has returned to his plastering apprenticeship and is currently working on flood defence work at Gorleston.

The former pupil on the Copleston Sports College SETEC scheme is employed by Rust and Kemp and attends Otley College once a week.

“Adrian Smith and Rust and Kemp kept my job open for me and Otley College put my one-day-a-week course on hold,” said Francis, who has scored 26 league and cup goals for Woodbridge this season.

He thought it was a wind-up when he received a telephone call from Ipswich Town academy coach and reserve team manager Richard Hall inviting him to a trial last December.

“I had no idea I was being watched and thought it was a mate winding me up,” recalled Francis. “It wasn't until I received another call that I started to believe it.”

Magilton said when releasing Francis: “Joe has enough talent to make a living out of the game.

“He has shown flashes of real quality and he is a lovely lad.

“But we are looking on a different level, and Joe could have done with a pre-season to have got him set up for playing full time.

“I will be making some phone calls, and doing all I can to get him fixed up to play professionally.”

Francis' Woodbridge manager is ex-Town stalwart Mick Stockwell.

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