Hot-shot Jordan in Jim's plans

TEENAGE hot-shot Jordan Rhodes clinched himself a place on the bench for the weekend Coca-Cola Championship game at Scunthorpe with two goals for Ipswich Town reserves last night.

Elvin King

TEENAGE hot-shot Jordan Rhodes clinched himself a place on the bench for the weekend Coca-Cola Championship game at Scunthorpe with two goals for Ipswich Town reserves last night.

And manager Jim Magilton, hit by injuries to a number of key players, today confirmed that the 18-year-old former Kesgrave High School pupil will feature in his plans between now and the end of the season.

“We have let some players go out on loan, but kept Jordan,” said Magilton. “This shows the value I put on the lad, and he is in my thoughts.”

Rhodes' brace in the 5-0 demolition of Colchester United in the Pontin's Holidays Combination at Portman Road last night brought his total in the division to 20.

And with 11 at Under 18 level, two while on loan at Oxford United and another half dozen in behind-closed door friendlies, Rhodes is maintaining a phenomenal scoring record that he has enjoyed since he first played competitive football in Scotland as an eight-year-old.

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Magilton watched the Colchester match as Rhodes showed his opportunism with a well-taken first goal before completing the rout with a late penalty after being fouled.

With Jon Walters and Shefki Kuqi injured and a loan striker still not secured Rhodes will be on hand at Scunthorpe with Pablo Counago and Alan Lee set to start up front and Danny Haynes the main back-up.

Rhodes' father Andy is goalkeeping coach at Portman Road, and he put his finger on the time he realised his son had every chance of making a career in the game.

“When Jordan went on loan to Oxford United last autumn there was concern not only from me but also the coaching staff,” said Rhodes senior.

“We were worried whether he would be able to deal with the physical nature of the lower leagues. They don't play as much football in the Blue Square Premier. But he proved he can live it and that is why he is involved in the first team now.”

Magilton will be keen to handle his protégé wisely as he knows the pit falls of blooding youngsters to early.

But the level headed Rhodes has already shown the maturity that will stand him in good stead as his career progresses.

With David Norris touch and go to be fit for Saturday, Gavin Williams gave a good display last night and is likely to remain in the first team squad for the trip to Scunthorpe.

Gary Roberts proved his fitness playing on the right last night and is likely to sit down with Magilton to decide his immediate future after returning from a loan period at Crewe.

N WOULD you put Jordan Rhodes into the first team now? Have your say. Write to sports desk, Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

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