Smith in line to make first team return

CHRIS LAKEY Ipswich Town Res 3, Norwich City Res 0Jimmy Smith gave Canaries caretaker boss Jim Duffy a welcome boost with a 70-minute run-out for the reserves last night - and immediately put himself in the picture for a quick return to first team action.


Ipswich Town Res 3, Norwich City Res 0

Jimmy Smith gave Canaries caretaker boss Jim Duffy a welcome boost with a 70-minute run-out for the reserves last night - and immediately put himself in the picture for a quick return to first team action.

The on-loan Chelsea youngster has been out of action since suffering an ankle ligament injury on the pre-season of Holland, and is now targeting a place in Duffy's squad for the visit of Bristol City on Saturday.

“We will see what happens this week in training. Who knows about the weekend?” said Smith. “The goal for myself is to be involved at the weekend.

“I just need to get some minutes under my belt. I played for Chelsea reserves the other day, I played 45, so it was good to do a bit tonight.

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“I feel much better - it's just about getting confidence in my head back about my ankle and that's just fine now. I have to be confident and put the tackles in but it's just fine.”

Smith, 20, has seen two managers go in the space of the past few weeks - Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Peter Grant at Norwich - and admits that his future after his loan deal ends in December is in the air.

“I am here to the end of December and then meant to be going back, but we will see what happens,” he said. “A lot of things have been going on but I have to get on and keep on going.”

However, Duffy's delight at Smith's run-out will have been tempered by an injury to French midfielder Julien Brellier, who pulled up after challenging Ipswich midfielder Jaime Peters. Brellier limped away to be replaced by Ross Kelly - and possibly out of Duffy's plans for the weekend.

A cross into the box from the right on five minutes was Smith's first contribution, and it led to a chance for Robert Eagle who, with his right foot, turned his effort wide.

But it was a gradual introduction for the Chelsea youngster, who alternated between right and centre midfield for the first half.

It was the first derby of the season, and one City will want to forget, even though it was only the Pontins Holiday Combination League - a table they head.

The scoreline would have been worse had it not been for City keeper Matty Gilks, who pulled off a string of quality saves.

Danny Haynes should have put Ipswich ahead on 25 minutes but blasted high and wide with only Gilks in the City goal in front of him.

Dean Bowditch spurned a similar chance two minutes later, this time slipping the ball the wrong side of Gilks' left-hand post.

Ipswich had taken control of the game, with Norwich emulating their senior counterparts by failing to trouble the opposition keeper.

But an unexpected opportunity came their way on 32 minutes when Chris Martin made his way into the penalty area and went down under the challenge of Richard Naylor. Referee Beck pointed to the spot - Naylor's protests earning him a caution - but keeper Andrew Plummer came to the rescue by diving to his right to keep out Chris Brown's spot-kick, leaving the City striker still to open his competitive account for the Canaries.

City paid the price three minutes later when Bowditch chipped the ball over the top, Haynes turned defender Paul McLean and then slotted the ball home from 15 yards for yet another goal against the Canaries.

The impressive Gary Roberts was close to making it two with a left-foot curler that Gilks did well to see before Haynes fired over from close range as Ipswich finished the half clearly on top.

Haynes had a chance for a second on 52 minutes when he was put through by Reason, but Gilks saved well with his feet.

Brown headed over from Gareth Matthews' cross on 58 minutes and Smith crashed a free-kick into the wall 10 minutes later, but they proved to be rare sights of the Ipswich goal.

Gilks was keeping Norwich in the game with a string of fine saves, denying Haynes again on 68 minutes when the youngster found himself in space and then beating out shots from Liam Trotter and Bowditch.

But there was nothing he could do to prevent Bowditch from sealing the win on 78 minutes, the Ipswich man turning in Jaime Peters' low cross from the touchline.

Trotter added a third with two minutes to go and it was all over for the Canaries, with Gilks' double save from subs Jack Ainsley and Curtley Williams simply confirming his man of the match status.

t Ipswich: Plummer, Synnott, Naylor, Adamski, Castro, Roberts (Murphy 55), Peters, Reason (Williams 88), Trotter, Bowditch, Haynes (Ainsley 88). Subs: Smith, Watson. Booking: Naylor, 32, dissent. Goals: Haynes 35, Peters 78, Trotter 88.

t Norwich: Gilks, Cave-Brown (Matthews 45), Halliday, McLean, Bexfield, Smith (Yong 70), Brellier (Kelly 9), Lathrope, Eagle, Martin, Brown. Subs: Arnold, Daley. Booking: Halliday, 58, foul on Haynes.

t Referee: SP Beck