IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell will not hesitate to bring a side back to AFC Sudbury after praising the club both on and off the field.
One of only three managers to win promotion to the Premier League with two different clubs, Jewell’s first ever visit to The MEL Group Stadium for last Wednesday’s pre-season friendly left a lasting impression. It was also Ipswich’s first visit to King’s Marsh in a pre-season friendly.
But the Ipswich chief, who was joined by chief executive Simon Clegg, chief scout Steve McCall and UEFA Cup winner and Under-18s manager Russell Osman in The Brian Tatum Stand, said they’ll definitely be back.
Speaking to the Free Press after his strong reserve side, managed by his trusted coach Sean McCarthy, beat AFC 6-1, Jewell said: “It is a lovely club, the people have made us feel very welcome and the pitch and facilities are excellent.
“I don’t see it being a problem if they want us next year and we’ll come next year.”
Highly-rated 16-year-old Byron Lawrence bagged a brace in a stand-out performance to add to Ronan Murray’s double and strikes from former Wigan Athletic frontman Nathan Ellington and academy scholar Mark Timlin.
But despite the one-sided scoreline, in front of a good crowd of 732, Jewell said: “It is a good experience for our young players playing against a team of Sudbury’s strength and quality it toughens them up.
“But we have to give credit to Sudbury, they gave us a really good game and tried to play good football and gave us a good workout.”
AFC could come up against the Blues again in the Suffolk Premier Cup after the Championship outfit re-entered a side in the competition following calls led by Great Cornard’s ex-Town player Jamie Griffiths.
Jewell said: “They are all good games for the locals to see the young players coming through.
“With the changes in the academies and under-21s and a lack of reserve games it is all a good experience for them, both physically and mentally.”
AFC Sudbury will have to negotiate their way past Bury Town at Ram Meadow in the first round on October 16, with Ipswich at Walsham-le-Willows. And Tracey’s side, who lost 2-0 at Cambridge City on Saturday, will conclude their pre-season friendlies at Bury tomorrow night (7.45pm).
Tracey said: “Obviously Bury are a division higher but there is always local rivalry between the two clubs.
“At the moment they are lauding it above us but it is about building for the 18th, it is not about bragging rights.”
Meanwhile, experienced centre-back Ian Cousins agreed to sign for the Yellows after playing against Ipswich and will help to cover for new signing Bradley Thomas’ three-match suspension at the start of the season.
“He is well known to a lot of the guys, another good person in the dressing room, vastly-experienced and he wants to be part of something special,” said Tracey, who revealed he is hoping fellow new defender Lauris Coggin (hamstring) will be fit for the season opener at home to Cheshunt on August 18 (3pm).
* Russell Claydon’s Talk of the Town Ipswich Town column returns next week. Follow him for Ipswich Town news and views on Twitter: @russclaydon