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O'Neill Delighted Young Duo Have Signed Deals
Thursday, 2nd Jul 2020 14:57

General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says he’s delighted youngsters Luke Woolfenden and Armando Dobra have signed long-term deals with the Blues following interest from Premier League and Championship clubs.

Yesterday, Woolfenden, 21, signed a new contract which runs to 2024 with the club having an option for a further season, while Dobra, 19, penned a new three-year deal, also including a one-year option, last month.

Championship leaders Leeds United are understood to have shown the strongest interest in Woolfenden, who had also been watched by QPR, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and others during 2019/20.

Dobra was the subject of a £350,000 Brighton offer close to the January deadline with a number of other sides also having run the rule over the Albania U21 call-up.

In addition to Woolfenden and Dobra, midfielder Flynn Downes, who is contracted to 2022 with the club having an option for a further year, is understood to have been eyed by Fulham and West Ham.

“If clubs are said to be interested in our young players, then that means they are performing well enough to make an impression and that the potential is there. I’d be more worried if our players weren’t linked with clubs,” O’Neill told the club site.

“We’re obviously delighted that Luke and Armando have both signed long-term deals and as a club, we want to hang on to our best players whatever age. I think Marcus [Evans] has proved that down the years.

“Like any club though, if an offer comes in for a player you have to look at it. We had that situation in January and we turned down bids for players.”

O’Neill, who is also Town’s academy manager, stressed the importance of young players getting their chance to progress into the senior side with 20 current or former Playford Road scholars having featured at some point during 2019/20.

“The academy staff take great pride in seeing any young player wear the first-team shirt and what’s important is that we continue to provide a pathway for our homegrown players to progress from our academy into the senior set-up,” he added.

“We don’t know the financial situation we will return to when the new season starts and we will clearly need a balance of senior players alongside some younger ones but producing our own players remains one of the cornerstones of Ipswich Town.”

Meanwhile, the Premier League has made the decision that the academy games programme won't restart until 12th September at the earliest with no date yet set for a return to training.

Elsewhere, former Blues winger Lee Martin has been released by Exeter City. The 33-year-old scored the winning goal for the Grecians as they knocked Town out of the Leasing.com Trophy at St James' Park in January.

Another ex-Blues winger, Darren Currie, is reportedly among those in the running for the Southend manager's job vacated by Sol Campbell earlier this week. Currie, 45, is currently in charge at Barnet.

Hull City have signed 20-year-old central defender Festus Arthur, who was linked with Town and a number of other clubs in January, from Stockport County for an undisclosed fee.

Photos: TWTD

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runningout added 15:30 - Jul 2
Won’t make predictable comment concerning another young player or two

pazzy added 15:40 - Jul 2
sorry to say it means we can hold out for a better price but we will sell anyway we are a very average club now and it hurts me to say it I started coming in 1956 now is an all time low for me and I HATE it

MickMillsTash added 15:47 - Jul 2
Mixing a jumper a suit jacket and a tie - sorry if this important topic has already been covered but I'm not a fan

dirtydingusmagee added 17:00 - Jul 2
im with those thinking its a move to put a price on their heads ,which is fine providing we hope to keep them and play them, However we all know that the likelyhood of keeping them is slim its the way the club has been going for a long time and a big part of why we are now at this level,

Wooly74 added 17:35 - Jul 2
Something slightly different than the original post....

As a keen Town fan all my life and a season ticket holder for a large part of it I always take my colours on holiday abroad and two years ago met a lovely couple from Hengelo in the Netherlands. They are both massive FC Twente fans and I have already enjoyed two visits over there to watch their beloved reds play, first in their Championship level league and more recent a top flight game.

FC Twente (like our own) is a massive local community club and this summer (during the Covid-19 crisis), Over 200 of their fans have volunteered to paint the entire stadium 🏟 red. The photos I have received from him this morning are simply amazing and shows just how much the club and stadium are such a focal point to the area. It makes me wonder why we couldn’t do a similar offering here to really bring the old ground back to former glory and to have a bit of pride in the place! The stairways and plain concrete walls are dull and would look amazing and I would one would certainly offer up my time to put a bit of pride back into PR.

Interested to hear what others think out there 👍

unknown100 added 17:42 - Jul 2
Happy to give the youngsters a go as long as they’re is a blend of experience and prime ages too, experience is key in defence and goalkeepers, whereas prime players are needed in the core like centre mid and striker

Kane Vincent-Young

5 talented youngsters but they need the support around them but that’s a good start

LWNR2013 added 18:12 - Jul 2
Unknown.....that’s where Luke and Cole come in👍

LWNR2013 added 18:13 - Jul 2
MMTash.. yes, the shirt collar needs to be tucked in the jumper

therein61 added 18:31 - Jul 2
Re the comment "if clubs are watching these boys they must be doing well" then good work by the club to keep them they are still being hampered by the immovable deadwood on big money(recently awarded) just get these people out of the building and go with these young guys who are our clubs future i would rather see the youngsters gel into a team over the next 2 seasons to move us forward than another minute of 4&8 who take money under false pretensions!! cue the down votes!!

Dockerblue added 18:47 - Jul 2
Woolfy already at a disadvantage having to play next to captain calamity.and bale him out time and time again. Imagine how good he,d look with a proper centre back partner.

Shawsey added 19:13 - Jul 2
Hope it is not just to push their asking price up.

cat added 07:09 - Jul 3
Why not start with them 5 talented youngest ‘unknown’ mentioned, we can’t do much worse than our current crop of under performers. We are never going to play a passing game out from the back on the front foot with 4 & 8 holding us back, FACT.

Les57 added 08:36 - Jul 3
Why are the majority of comments negative? A very good player has signed a long term deal and as usual the knockers use it as an excuse to moan about the club. The fact is that the club have protected their asset for a bit longer and if another club comes in with a bid for any player it makes it easier to decline or make sure the price is higher. Likewise if the player was not committed why would he sign a longer deal. If he had let his contract run down then he can demand higher wages at another club as they do not pay a transfer fee to us.
For me it is a win,win situation well done club and player.

Razor added 10:50 - Jul 3
Would like to see Downes contract extended purely as recognition of the fine season he had last year and how important he is to the club.

BryanPlug added 12:00 - Jul 3
We’ve just signed up two of our best young players on long term contracts and some people decide to turn this into some kind of fashion commentary. Oh no he’s wearing a sweater with a suit. What a crime against humanity. The high and mighty people saying this are probably sitting in front of their computers wearing Lonsdale trackie bottoms and Slazenger polo shirts.

blue86 added 16:05 - Jul 3
BryanPlug, haha that is a great comment! Lonsdale trackies and slazenger polo! Haha. In all seriousness though, it's great wolfy has committed and dobra. And yes us as fans hate big boys poaching our players. Well what about colchester? do you reckon they liked us taking vincent-young then? That's just the way it is I'm afraid! I do wish the modern game was less about money though.

Michael101 added 09:28 - Jul 4
Les57 why are there negative comments ??.Because we are talking about Ipswich town it happens time after time.anybody good gets sold for half there value but we keep all the dross nobody wants.

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