Jeffers gives Clarke a boost

FRANCIS Jeffers has given Ipswich Town striker Billy Clarke a timely lift.So says Blues manager Jim Magilton, who admits the 19-year-old's career has not progressed as everybody at the club would have liked.

By Elvin King

FRANCIS Jeffers has given Ipswich Town striker Billy Clarke a timely lift.

So says Blues manager Jim Magilton, who admits the 19-year-old's career has not progressed as everybody at the club would have liked.

Magilton still has every faith in the Republic of Ireland youth international making the grade and feels the two weeks Blackburn loanee Jeffers spent at Portman Road was beneficial to Clarke.

“Billy is not going to grow over six foot,” said Magilton. “He will always be a bit slight for a striker - similar to Franny. Billy watched Franny go into the gym and work so hard.

“Everything Franny did was professional and quality and in line to make him as efficient as possible when he went on to the park.

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“Billy's career started so brightly and he was playing off his instincts.

“Now I am happy to play Billy again and I can see him roaring back to the forefront.”

Tommy Smith, the Macclesfield-born central defender, is in line to make his first team debut before the end of the season.

The 17-year-old, who has New Zealand caps at Under-16 and U-17 level, is being kept under wraps at Portman Road.

“We don't want any one to nab him,” quipped Magilton.