Klug predicts bright future for Town

IPSWICH Town starmaker Brian Klug today forecast a rosy 2005 for the club.The Blues' Academy director has guided a string of home-grown starlets into the Town first-team squad in recent seasons.

IPSWICH Town starmaker Brian Klug today forecast a rosy 2005 for the club.

The Blues' Academy director has guided a string of home-grown starlets into the Town first-team squad in recent seasons.

And Klug is now revealing the trio of youngsters he believes will be next to force their way into Joe Royle's Championship plans.

Ipswich Under-18s entertain Premiership outfit Portsmouth in the FA Youth Cup on Monday. And Klug insists the rich crop of youngsters produced by the club shows no sign of relenting.

This conveyer belt of teenage talent has elevated the likes of current first-team stars Darren Bent and Ian Westlake (inset) into the first team in recent years and three players who already have first team experience under their belts will be in the squad to face Pompey.

Joining Darryl Knights, Shane Supple and Owen Garvan in the team to face Pompey should be Liam Craig, Michael Synott and Billy Clarke - all of whom are tipped for big things.

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Klug said: “At least three or four look as though they can go right to the top. This is as good a group of players as we've had at the Academy.

“If it had not been for injury Billy Clarke could have caught Joe Royle's attention by now.

“Joe has carried on the fine tradition of Ipswich Town mangers and places a lot of importance on the youth set-up. He is prepared to give youngsters a chance and has a positive approach to everything that takes place in the Academy.”

That tradition goes back as far as the 1960s when the likes of Mick Mills emerged in the youth team while in the 1970s Paul Mariner and Eric Gates were among the home-grown stars that came through the ranks.

Also likely to figure in Monday's game is Aidan Collins, who played 16 minutes of Town's last game of the 2002-2003 campaign at Derby together with Sudbury-based youngster James Krause.

Town's kids have a big incentive to win their tie against Portsmouth - the winners will play Manchester United away in the fourth round.

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