Klug tells Youth Cup kids to enjoy it

ENJOY - that is the message Ipswich's young stars will take with them into the second leg of the FA Youth Cup Final.The Town kids' shot at glory comes in tomorrow's decider at Portman Road after they held favourites Southampton to a 2-2 draw at St Mary's on Monday.

ENJOY - that is the message Ipswich's young stars will take with them into the second leg of the FA Youth Cup Final.

The Town kids' shot at glory comes in tomorrow's decider at Portman Road after they held favourites Southampton to a 2-2 draw at St Mary's on Monday.

They will be going all out to bring the trophy back to Suffolk for the first time in 30 years and, having also won it in 1973, complete a hat-trick of successes.

More than anything, though, academy manager Bryan Klug wants his boys to enjoy the occasion in front of what promises to be a bumper crowd.

Klug said: “This isn't the Champions League, it's youth football, and I have been, and will continue to stress, that the players should enjoy themselves.

“Since the first leg against Tottenham in the semi-final we will have had four games of high intensity inside a fortnight. It has been physically and mentally draining, with the games coming so thick and fast.

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“We are trying to relax the boys down before tomorrow. They've been swimming, for example, and yesterday they did their college work as usual.”

Republic of Ireland youth striker Billy Clarke, who was injured in the closing stages of the semi-final clash at White Hart Lane, will again be absent.

And Town could be without three members of their strong Irish contingent if defender Michael Synnott and midfielder Owen Garvan fail fitness tests.

Klug said: “Michael is getting a reaction to his cartilage operation, which was only six weeks ago, while Owen took knocks to his thigh and hip.

“If they can play, they will play. This might be the only opportunity they have to play in the FA Youth Cup Final, but we won't risk anything.”

Klug was proud of his players in a keenly fought first leg in which yet another Irish teenager, Cathal Lordan, was Town's two-goal hero.

Klug added: “The main thing was the way we performed. We played in the right manner and kept the ball well. It was a great advertisement for the academy system.”

But there is no question of Klug thinking the hard work has been done in holding the young Saints on their own patch.

He said: “If Southampton come with the same attitude that we took down there, we're in for another tremendous game.

“They certainly won't be coming here thinking they're beaten. They are still favourites.”

The admission price for tomorrow's game is £8 for adults and £1 for children.

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