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A Blues fan for almost 20 years, I am living the dream as Ipswich Town Writer for the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star.
Fri, Nov 11 2011 12:03 PM
AS its Friday, I thought I would have a bit of fun and delve into my crystal ball.
Paul Jewell was not at Colchester United last night to watch England Under-21s' comprehensive 5-0 victory over Iceland.
But his trusty lieutenants, Chris Hutchings and Sean McCarthy, were both sitting comfortably in the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Now the duo might have just fancied a taste of international football on their doorstep. But for the purposes of this blog, here's five young lads they might, semi-realistically, been casting an eye over for the months to come.
Will Keane (striker)
A Manchester United striker whose goalscoring instincts have been compared to Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Having scored eight goals in United's victorious FA Youth Cup campaign last season and then another six in seven starts for the reserves, it is not hard to see why the likes of Paul Scholes are expecting the Red Devils to boast another Keane in their ranks in the near future. This one would be a definitely loan deal only and Paul Jewell appears to be an admirer, not convincingly denying the links when I quizzed him at a recent press conference. But Jewell's public pursuit of Billy Sharp might mean that he puts Keane on the back-burner, so to speak. Came on for the last 12 minutes at Colchester.
Gary Gardner (centre midfield)
A new name to watch after his two goals last night, one of which a cracking free-kick which saw the confident Aston Villa midfielder push Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson out of the pecking order. Stuart Pearce later admitted that he had told Gardner just to sit in front of the back four - and boy does Ipswich need one of those. The goals were an obvious bonus. The younger brother of Sunderland midfielder Craig, the 19-year-old is a new name for me and clearly there are no guarantees he is ready for the hustle and bustle of the Championship. But he has to start somewhere and the fact that he has not played a single minute for Villa this season suggests they would not have a problem with a loan deal. Just a thought.
Craig Dawson (centre-back)
I would prefer Town to be looking at Martin Kelly (but then again I would prefer them to get Messrs Henderson, McEachran or Oxlade-Chamberlain on loan!) But with Kelly making a name for himself at Liverpool, his centre-back partner Dawson seems a more likely bet. Linked with Town in the summer, Dawson has again struggled to break through at West Brom but he looked a good physical presence, decent on the ball and an able defender during his 90 minutes at the Weston Homes. A loan spell would seem the only route to Portman Road with Everton said to be among his admirers. But if Jewell and Co are looking for a bit of temporary pace at the heart of his defence, he could do far worse.
Sammy Ameobi (striker/left-winger)
A youngster who has just broken through at Newcastle and now starred for England is unlikely to be eyeing a move downwards just yet. But if Alan Pardew feels Shola's younger brother could do with a loan spell, I would just love it if Ipswich were in the market. The star of the show at Col U - some feat after Ameobi was only in the squad because of poor Connor Wickham's injury and then only on the pitch after Nathan Delfouneso felt his hamstring with just 12 minutes on the clock. Possessing a bag of tricks as well as pace to burn, the 19-year-old would brighten up the Championship.
Adam Smith (right-back)
The Tottenham full-back surprised many by joining MK Dons on a season-long loan after appearing to be touted for the Championship. He will hope that his loan spell will help him make a similar impact at White Hart Lane to Kyle Walker. But if it doesn't, Championship clubs might again be in the frame either or another loan deal next season or maybe a permanent move. Smith looked very comfortable on the ball last night and had a nice bit of pace about him - especially in dealing with Iceland's danger man Johann Gudmunsson. Impossible to say whether Town missed a trick on the 20-year-old full-back based on one match, but definitely one to watch. He can also shoot a bit too.
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