POTENTIAL footballing stars of the future will take to the Portman Road pitch tomorrow night as Ipswich Town host Manchester United in their annual Under-15 match.
This will be the seventh time the Blues have hosted the Premier League giants, with the likes of Danny Welbeck having featured for the visitors and Connor Wickham the hosts in this fixture previously.
Kick-off is at 7.30pm, with the 7,000 capacity Britannia Stand open to the public – tickets priced at £5 for adults and £1 for juniors.
And academy sponsorship manager Simon Milton has urged Blues supporters to turn up in their numbers.
“Over 5,000 people signed a petition calling for the club to push for Category One academy status recently,” said the former Town midfielder.
“In the end the club decided that it just wasn’t financially viable to push for top level status, but I’m delighted that so many people out there feel so strongly about the youth system at this football club.
“It would be great to see a good crowd turn out and support this match because every penny that is made goes straight back into the academy.”
He added: “We’re all still very excited about the future of the academy at this club because even Category Two will mean a massive improvement on what we already do – we’re going to have more staff and a even better infrastructure.”
Manchester United’s Under-15s first started travelling down to East Anglia in 2000 – but originally they faced Norwich City.
Sammy Morgan swapped Norfolk for Suffolk in 2006 though, bringing the Red Devils fixture with him to his new role at Ipswich Town.
“United don’t go everywhere so it says something about us that they are prepared to travel down here and play our boys,” said the Blues’ academy manager.
“It’s a game the boys and the staff look forward to. It gives the boys a chance to play in a big stadium, in front of a crowd and against top opposition as well.
“Danny Welbeck played for them a few years back and look where he is now. They’ve had others that have gone on to play in the first-team but we’ve had a few lads who have done well ourselves.
“The games have been competitive and good to watch. They always seem to live up to our expectations and I’m sure Friday will be no different.”
With gates opening at 6.30pm tomorrow night, there will be on-field coaching demonstrations put on by Town academy players from U9 to U13 level before the game and at half-time.