Winning title is 'meaningless' says Klug

IPSWICH Town first team coach Bryan Klug today described winning the Combination championship as 'meaningless'.A 2-2 draw at Luton Town yesterday confirmed that the Blues won the Pontin's Holidays Combination League east division, and they now play the central division winners to see who will be overall champions.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town first team coach Bryan Klug today described winning the Combination championship as 'meaningless'.

A 2-2 draw at Luton Town yesterday confirmed that the Blues won the Pontin's Holidays Combination League east division, and they now play the central division winners to see who will be overall champions.

But Klug, instrumental in bringing through a host of talented youngsters during his seven years as academy director at Ipswich, is calling for a radical shake-up of reserve football.


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“Our players have done well and full marks to them,” said Klug.

“And some of the games have been proper ones. But to cross that divide between youth and first team football youngsters need to have regular competitive fixtures.

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“With respect to the likes of Stevenage and Oxford we have not always found that in the Combination.”

Ipswich were 'thrown out' of the FA Premier Reserve League at the end of last season, and at one time there were fears they would be left with just friendly fixtures this campaign.

Moves are afoot to improve the way reserve football is run, with Klug adding: “It is something the Football Association is going to have to take a serious look at.

“Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has voiced his concern at the difficulties in producing young players in this country, and he is right.”

Having three clubs in the final four of the Champions League is a fitting tribute to the standard of the Premiership. But how many players involved with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are foreign and learned their trade abroad?

“We have good youngsters coming through like Jordan Rhodes, who can score goals like nobody else at the club, and defender Tommy Smith,” said Klug. “But they need to play tough matches on a regular basis.”

Rare goals from Sito Castro and Billy Clarke put the Blues into a 2-0 lead yesterday, but the Hatters hit back through Besian Idrizaj and Adam Boyd.

Wing-back Sito netted direct from a free-kick after Rhodes had been fouled and then Clarke rode a number of tackles and slotted the ball past keeper Marlon Beresford.

Idrizaj scored with a header in the 76th minute, and the equaliser came seven minutes later after Smith was judged to have handled. Boyd beat Andy Plummer from the spot.

With Shane Supple kept back for Saturday's first team game, Ian Miller took over as captain and caught the eye along with Sito.

Town needed a point to take the title. They finish their league games with a home match against Northampton on Monday, April 23, with Southampton their likely opposition in the inter-league play-off.

Richard Hall's side can complete a double when they play Leiston in the final of the Club Colours Suffolk Premier Cup at Portman Road next Tuesday.

Reserve team: Plummer, Synnott, Richards (sub Robinson 75 mins), Miller, Smith, Sito (Upson 75), Moore, Trotter, Harding, Clarke (Reason 84), Rhodes. Subs: Fenn, Tooms.

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