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Interviews

Interview with Emma Wallis

Having already overcome 1 ACL injury already, nobody could blame Emma Wallis for being a bit careful when returning to football. But to then have the same injury happen a second time!, can be a scary position to be in for anyone hoping to become a professional player.

A long term injury doesn’t just impact the player’s ability to train and play games, but also the mentality and confidence going forward after the recovery.

We caught up with Emma to see how she’s dealt with the injury and look ahead to her return.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Without a doubt, Kevin De Bruyne.

What team do you support?

Arsenal ‘till I die – COYG!

Who inspires you?

Lucy Bronze – as a fullback myself, I learn lots by watching her play.

3 songs from your playlist?

1) Gecko Overdrive – Oliver Heldens x Becky Hill
2) Million Dollar Bill – Whitney Houston
3) Glorious – Macklemore

Do you have any pre match rituals?

Always have to go for a wee!

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Travelling to Dublin with the English Schools U15 squad was pretty memorable. I featured in matches against Scotland and Northern Ireland and I will never forget the experience.

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

Lucy W, Paige, Blue, Peskett

We’ve had a good start to the season, probably the best we could have asked for?

The girls have been great, and have worked hard to gain good momentum something that I’m sure everyone wants to maintain when we’re back.

Has this second lockdown had any negative effects on the mood in the camp?

Understandably, there was a lot of frustration among the squad. However, I wouldn’t say it has negatively affected the mood, as it has given everyone a chance to work on other aspects of their game – even if the situation is not ideal…

When the season gets underway again, there is a risk of some fixture build up. So keeping fitness up during this lockdown period is even more essential?

Staying fit has definitely been one of the main priorities during this lockdown. But it has also been an important time to rest, in mind that the intensity of fixtures may start to build up.

Given your lengthy injury, do you see the lockdown as an opportunity to get back to playing fitness and ready for the restart?

It has been a good opportunity to refine certain aspects of my game both physically, technically and tactically, in preparation for my return, especially without missing any matches. But I would also say that being integrated into team training would’ve been more ideal!.

This was your second ACL injury. What was your initial thoughts when it was confirmed?

The news of the second injury was gutting – a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was so close to my return after the first one and it took me a while to really comprehend that I’d done it again.

Is it the same ACL as the first time?

No, the first was to my left knee, but the second was to my right knee; I’ve got matching scars!

Having it happen again, does it affect your confidence when coming back to playing?

I have definitely been frustrated from a technical point of view, as I have felt rusty, though I can feel improvements as time goes on and that gives me confidence.

How has the club helped with your 2 ACL injuries?

The club have been great and have supported me throughout this long spell on the side lines. They have still kept me involved in the team environment as well as supplying the physiotherapy to allow me to rehab properly.

How have you kept yourself occupied during the time out?

I initially took a big interest into sports psychology, completing a long project on it through school. But generally, it has sparked my interests into sports science and strength and conditioning, which I’m not sure would’ve happened if I didn’t get injured.

Does the thought of a reoccurring injury play on your mind? Especially with it being such a long term recovery?

I think it is quite present in my mind at the moment, but once I get the feeling of playing properly again, I think this will disappear as my focusses lie elsewhere.

Have you managed to get involved in any games in training, or is it too soon?

Before lockdown, I was joining in non-contact training. I hope to progress to contact training and eventually matches soon. Even though I am itching to get back, I do not want to rush this stage!

How soon can we expect to see you back playing?

It’s hard to say. I need to make sure my return to contact goes well without any knee issues, before even thinking about competitive matches. Realistically, this will probably be in the New Year.

What are your personal thoughts about men’s teams being allowed to play but women’s being stopped?

It’s difficult to criticise the situation as the hierarchy of the systems work differently, meaning the rules and guidelines aren’t the same.

Does it feel like the women’s game has kind of been brushed aside and doesn’t get the respect it deserves?

I did initially feel this, and still think we could’ve at least trained during the lockdown, but I think it’s something that could’ve been reviewed a bit better.

Do you believe that the club has the facilities to ensure safety if we had of been allowed to continue during the lockdown?

I do think we could’ve carried on training safely, as we all know the seriousness of the situation and would’ve done everything in our control to keep that possible.

We have been given a date to restart the season. Is it about preparation now, and making sure we restart how we finished off?

Yes preparation is important and we definitely want to restart how we left. It will be important to prepare in the same way as we always have and not do anything differently.

What has the club been doing during the lockdown to keep players going?

We have had zoom workouts, psychology workshops and general squad calls, so a relatively busy zoom schedule!

We will start off with the FA Cup game when we return. We play a team lower than us. As much as we’re expected to win, there is always a chance of an upset?

I always think that it’s important to be grounded when playing a team in a lower league. Looking back to last year, we beat teams in higher leagues than us on our FA cup run, so it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves.

Being the first game back, might it take time to get back into the flow again?

I think if anything, this odd period has made us more appreciative of being able to play, so I think the team will be raring to go and buzzing for the first match back!

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 4

Last week’s round caught a few people out. Top spot has gone from being shared by 7 to 5!. Only 2 more rounds to go!, who can catch Tash?

Here we go with week 4! only 1 round left after this! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CRMHVHK

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 3

Week 2 provided a couple of questions that tripped some of you up! meaning the league table has thinned out now. Joe and Tash lead the way with only a handful of fans keeping up the pace!.

With plans for the season to be resumed now in place, the final week of the quiz will be posted on the 4th of December and a winner announced on the 11th!. But for now, here is week 3’s questions. Good luck, can anyone keep up with Tash and the boss?……..

Week 3 Questions >>> https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/P2ZSPV2

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 2

30 of you took part in week 1 and ,judging by the table, week 1 was rather easy!. We even have the gaffer and some players taking part!.

We have had to step up the questions for week 2! same rules apply, only your first submission will be counted. Good luck!

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KX9W8HV

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz

Become a True Blue and receive great benefits, including free entry to all ITFC Women home games. Find out more here.

With the season called to a temporary halt, we need some sort of entertainment. SO!! introducing The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz!.

How does it work?

With the season stopped, we are going to post a weekly quiz of 9 questions each week until the season resumes. We will produce a league table along with the new set of questions each week and whoever finishes top come the resumption of the season, will win an ITFC Women Team Poster signed by two players of the winners choice. Only your first try will be counted.

What if there are joint winners?

In the event of a tie at the top of the table come the end of the quiz, the joint leaders will be entered into a draw and a winner will be picked.

So!! are you ready to test your ITFC Women knowledge?. Let the most knowledgeable fan win!.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS WEEK 1 QUIZ

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Post Match Verdict

Post Match Verdict – Norwich (A)

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Sunday 1st November

Norwich City 1-3 Ipswich Town

Ipswich Line-up –

Williamson (GK), Hubbard (c), Cooper, Peake, Adamson, Lafayette, Allen, King, Peskett, Grey, Thomas

Subs –

Meollo, Sutherland, Barrett, Egan, Abrehart, Rossiter

They say it’s the games you play poorly in but still come out with a win that count come the end of the season. Although this was a cup game, it was a tough one at that. The score-line doesn’t always tell the full story at the full time whistle and that stands for this game. The 2nd half seemed to be a struggle for Joe Sheehan’s side as they continually tried to break down the Norwich door but found themselves short of an outcome.

Ipswich have made a habit this season of scoring early and that continued against Norwich when Anna Grey ran to the byline and pulled the ball back for Eloise King to place into the bottom corner. Town seemed to take confidence from that early goal but still couldn’t get a foothold in the game as Norwich were more than happy to shut them down in the middle of the park and not give them time to play their own game. The Canaries were threatening the Ipswich goal from the early stages but Lucy Williamson was determined to get another clean sheet against her name.

Sophie Peskett found the net again as she got on the end of Eloise King’s through ball and slotted it past the onrushing keeper. Sophie has been one of our stand out players in the opening fixtures and her energy today proved she has a lot more to give the team in the coming games.

Paige Peake stepped up to score another free kick, putting it into the top corner and leaving the keeper with no chance. This was after she struck another free kick onto the cross bar earlier on in the first half.

After the break was when things got tough for Ipswich. Their Norfolk based rivals came out looking to play on the counter attack and it worked. Sitting back and closing down any possession in the midfield, forcing them to go back instead of forward put the team at a loss of causing Norwich problems. Ipswich did create some chances in the second half, coming from the wide players but a well organised Norwich defence was keeping them out.

Ipswich kept solid and it was only a mistake from a short Town corner that allowed Norwich to counter attack and see Keunna be put through 1 on 1 with Lucy Williamson and slot the ball into the far corner of the net.

The Ups and Downs –

It was a bit of a back step in terms of performance for the Tractor Girls but many will say it’s the result that matters. Town advance into the next round of the cup but Joe Sheehan will be looking for a big improvement on the pitch when they travel to Leyton Orient next Sunday, assuming it goes ahead with the new lockdown coming into play on Thursday.

On a brighter note, Eloise continued her scoring form against the Canaries and some good team work down the left side between Grey and Hubbard saw them cause a headache for the Norwich Right Back.

Player Of The Match –

This was probably the toughest pick so far this season as there wasn’t any really stand out performances. But in the first half, Anna Grey run the left side of the pitch ragged. Hitting the byline to find Eloise in the box for the opening goal and then creating lots of chances for her team mates in the box. I thought the link up play between Anna and Eva was really encouraging and Norwich struggled to keep tabs on them and stop their crosses. Most of the play in the first half eventually went down that side of the pitch, just because of how much trouble it was causing Norwich. Anna’s performances this season seem to get better and better with each game and she deserved this POTM for the chances she created for the team.

Post Match with Joe

“I think we started well, scored early. Some elements of some good play”

“Bit disappointed we didn’t build on the good start we had”

“Second Half, I’m a bit disappointed if I’m honest. We didn’t really capitalise and didn’t really look to impose ourselves”

Officials –

I always feel derby games are awkward to overlook. You come down too hard and you risk taking the passion out of the game but you let things go and you risk losing control of the game. I feel Referee Harvey Newstead had a fairly decent game, although inconsistent with his decisions. A few times he gave a free kick for something he let go earlier in the game and this was the same for both sides, not just for Ipswich. Other than that, the majority of his performance was fairly decent. A few rough challenges from the home side but nothing where the ball wasn’t played or could be classed as malicious. We have had a lot worse officials in recent times. an 8/10 for me. More consistent decision making would have given him a 10.

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Match Previews

Match Preview – Norwich City

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Norwich City vs Ipswich Town

Sunday 1st November – The Nest, Norwich, NR10 3AQ – 1pm ko – ticket only.

The first East Anglian Derby of the season is upon us as Ipswich Town head into Norfolk in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round. The two sides faced off in the exact same round last season at the Goldstar Ground where the Tractor Girls run away with the win. This time around, the roles have reversed but Joe Sheehan’s side, who have scored 20 goals in their last 2 games and conceded none, will be very much in the hunt for the same result.

Pre-Match Chat –

As expected with any derby game, every Ipswich fan will be fully up for the visit to Norwich on the back of what has been an amazing start to the season for Town. Striker Natasha Thomas has been in unstoppable form recently and is now only 3 goals away from taking her goal tally for the club to 100. What a game it would be to hit such an achievement.

Team Talk –

Last weeks games at Kent was called off due to international call ups and it seems all the players have returned home without any fresh injuries. Joe Sheehan won’t be short of options for this Sundays’ match. Molly Sutherland and Amy-Leigh Abrehart will be hoping for places in the team after fine performances last time out again Peterborough Northern Star.

The Opposition –

Norwich currently sit 7th in the league after 3 games played, with 2 wins and 1 loss to their name and manager Shaun Howes was pleased with his sides showing in the 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Kathryn Stanley currently sits as the Canaries top scorer with 3 goals.

Players to Watch

With 2 hat-tricks in as many games, and a club centaury on the cards, Ipswich forward Natasha Thomas won’t be letting anything get in her way on Sunday as she looks to get that 100th club goal. Ipswich fan Eloise King got a hat-trick in our last visit to Norwich and will be very much up to repeat that. Midfielder Georgia Allen looks to be part of her first East Anglian Derby since returning to Suffolk and, after some impressive opening performances, could be the key to unlocking the Norwich defence.

From The Squad –

Molly Sutherland’s performances so far this season haven’t gone unnoticed by the Ipswich Town fans and will be hoping to see more of her this weekend. We caught up with Molly to look ahead to this Sundays’ clash.

We have a very good record against Norwich in recent years, so how did the team react to drawing them in the FA Cup?

The team are, for obvious reasons, ecstatic to be drawn against Norwich, it being a derby game really does make it that little bit more exciting.

It’s a shame the game has come at a time where crowd numbers are restricted. Judging by the social media reaction, a sell out is very likely. Having that support for a derby game must give the team a boost, especially away?

The support we receive is always something we are so grateful for as it really does help push us on in times where a game may become stagnant. In recent rival games against Norwich the support has always been crazy, so it will be unfortunate if the expected capacity of fans aren’t all allowed to watch.

We beat Norwich at this stage last season. Should we be weary of a revenge mission this time round?

We take every team as serious as each other, as like I mentioned any side can be deadly with a desire to win. Although we will prepare for a good Norwich team, like all games we will go into it with confidence. We won’t be any more wary because of prior results but will instead just focus on the game at hand.

They say form goes out of the window when it comes to derby games. Is it just about playing our own game and ensuring we don’t get distracted by the occasion?

Exactly that! The game should be treated as any other so that the only thing we’re focused on is our own individual performances and how this can aid the team to victory. We know our strengths, we just need to play to them in the match.

Being a life long Ipswich fan, Eloise will be very much up for this meeting. She bagged a hat-trick last time against Norwich, I’m sure she’ll very much be looking for another this time?

Eloise is always fired up for a game against Norwich and she definitely is this time round. I think with such a good performance last time, she will be wanting to replicate this to help Ipswich produce another derby day win!

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East Anglian Derbies – A look back

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It’s the first game fans look for when the fixtures get released each Summer, but this weekends’ meeting between the eastern rivals meets outside of league action. Just like last season, it’s another East Anglian Derby in the Third Round Qualifying of the FA Cup and another highly anticipated clash for the Tractors Girls.

Ipswich are the runaway favourites heading into Norfolk this Sunday, having beaten the Canaries in last seasons’ FA Cup 6-1 at the Goldstar Ground while also winning the league games, 4-1 and 10-0.

Joe Sheehan’s side are yet to concede a goal in league and cup action this season while heading to Norwich on the back of 2 10-0 wins. With Natasha Thomas also firing in two Hat-tricks in as many games, this Sunday’s opponents will do well to keep her quiet.

You have to go back two seasons since the last time Norwich took points off the Tractor Girls when they won 3-0 at Plantation Park during the 18/19 season. Only Natasha Thomas and Paige Wakefield remain with the club from that game.

Meetings between Ipswich and Norwich have always been high scoring games, with the lowest combined goals over the two league games from the past five seasons being 4.

15/16 – 12 goals over 2 games

16/17 – 8 goals over 2 games

17/18 – 14 over 2 games

18/19 – 4 goals over 2 games

19/20 – 15 goals over 2 games

Last season saw the most amount of goals in the league games between the two rivals which Ipswich won 10-0 and 4-1. A standout performance from Ipswich Town fan Eloise King saw the young Midfielder get herself a Hat-trick in the away fixture at Plantation Park.

With Joe Sheehan’s side in the mood they currently find themselves, we could see another high scoring game on Sunday when they travel to Norwich’s new home, The Nest on Sunday afternoon.

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Interviews

Interview with Molly Sutherland

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If you asked me which player I thought had improved the most in the last 12 months, I’d give you a list of about 5 or 6 players that had all become better players, but the top of that list would be Molly Sutherland. It’s no secret the talent Ipswich Town has coming through into the first team, Molly being one of them. But with Allen, Lafayette, and King currently occupying the centre of midfield, any midfielder coming through will find it difficult to break into that.

Despite the strength Ipswich has in that area, Molly has been named on every team sheet this season, except for the away game at Billericay, where she was captaining an Ipswich side in the Suffolk Cup Final instead where she lead the team to lift the trophy at full time.

Molly got herself on the scoresheet in the last game with a beautiful strike from outside of the area, as the Tractor Girls’ run out 10-0 winners in the FA Cup 2nd round qualifying. Something I think we can look forward to seeing more of as Sutherland forces her way into Joe Sheehan’s plans.

England Training Camps have already been part of Molly’s career and wouldn’t be too surprised if Sutherland got the call again, given her recent performances and continued progression.

We caught up with Molly to take a look back at the last month of games and discuss the departure of highly respected Coach, Paige Shorten.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Steven Gerrard

What team do you support?

Liverpool!!!

Who inspires you?

I think how hard-working Cristiano Ronaldo is, is very inspiring.

3 songs from your playlist?

1)Martin & Gina- Polo G 2)Hello- Pop Smoke 3) Insecure- Jazmine Sullivan & Bryson Tiller

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

Not really, although I tend to tie my shoelaces up several times before the game.

A football memory you’ll never forget?

Winning a cup final with a team prior to Ipswich!.

Which teammate would you room share with on an away trip?

Abbie Laffy

Which 4 teammates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

Lucy Williamson, Abbie Laff, Sophie Peskett and Zoe Barratt

We started the month hosting Cambridge City, which was moved due to the weather. Do you have to adapt your game when playing on an artificial pitch?


No, not particularly, I don’t think an artificial pitch affects our game. We train on both the grass and the 3G, so we feel comfortable that we can perform at a high standard on both these surfaces.

We started well, taking the lead after 2 minutes. It seems to be a good habit taking an early lead at the moment?

Yes, at the moment it definitely seems that way. I think it’s a good habit to get into, as in scoring early we take clear control of the game. It allows us to settle into the match without the pressure of scoring that first goal.

We come away with the win and a clean sheet. They did prove difficult to break down though. Could that have been the effect of changing to an artificial pitch?

I don’t think the astro had much of an impact. I think Cambridge City just set up slightly different from what was expected and so it was about realising this and adapting to try new ways of breaking them down, which eventually we were able to.

We dominated the game in terms of possession and chances, is this something you work hard on in training, retaining the ball, and being patient?

Yeah for sure! We know how important it is to take control of matches so ball retention in good areas of the pitch is definitely a focus of training. We’re a team that enjoys creating chances, however, we also understand the need to sometimes just be patient so that we can keep possession until a clear chance presents itself. This way we don’t lose the ball from trying to force a pass.

The Cambridge United game was an emphatic win. Laying down that marker early on must give the team confidence?

I think every game we play were confident with our ability to win, even if the first goal seems to never come. However of course by taking a quick lead it allows us to relax into the match earlier, hopefully avoiding the possible franticness of trying to find a late winner.

Natasha Thomas smashed in her first Hat-trick of the season against Cambridge United. How important is she when she’s in this form and she must be a nightmare for defenders?

When in form defenders should definitely be fearful! She’s a crucial part of the squad and like she’s shown in the last couple of weeks she’s very much capable of scoring hat tricks every game. With such variety in her finishes, it must be impossible for a defender to determine what she’s going to do next!

When you’re winning by such a big margin, is it difficult to remain focused and ensure the team doesn’t get too confident and lose its shape?

This is something we are consistently addressing as a team, whether it be before a game or within one, there is constant communication about staying switched on. Not only are we a high scoring side, but we’re yet to let a goal in this season so the squad has a real desire to keep this momentum of clean sheets going. The only way to do this is to make sure we never lose focus and stay disciplined within our formation.

Zoe Barrett got herself on the scoresheet, there’s a lot of potential in the squad coming through the Academy?

There really is. There are so many players that are in great form and Zoe is definitely one of them having scored a lot of goals recently. I think if younger players can carry on improving as they are, then in a few years the ladies’ side may be seeing some new faces.

We have to talk about your goal in the Peterborough NS game. It was quite a hit from outside the area, is that something you practice a lot, shooting from outside the area?

It is! I thought last season it was an area that needed improvement so throughout lockdown it was something I practiced religiously every week with my dad. I find that most drills in training don’t allow for long-range shooting so I now go out with a friend locally to make sure I carry on improving. Hopefully, my goal tally can keep increasing this season!

Another ten goals and another clean sheet, the whole team seems to be really enjoying their football at the moment?

We definitely are! It’s so enjoyable to be apart of a team that is able to score so many goals, as it begins to give players the freedom to express themselves, not only in the scoring but in the build-up play for these chances. I think it’s clear how confident the team truly is as there’s been such a variety of players getting on the score sheet.

Going up against smaller teams in cups, are you always wary of a potential upset?

We never underestimate any team we get drawn against as a side of determined, hard-working players can be dangerous. We prepare exactly the same as any other game to make sure we’re not at the wrong end of a cup upset!

We have seen some rotation in the team for this game and it speaks volumes of the talent we have that we can knock out a 10-0 win even with younger faces in the team?

There is such a depth of quality throughout the entirety of both the academy and the ladies’ side and so any team put out is one that can confidently win games. I think because players from the academy now understand there is an opportunity to be apart of the women’s side, it creates really healthy competition which can only help to improve an already exceeding group of players.

Sarah Brasero made her debut and also became the youngest player to play for the club. She made a good impact and certainly did herself proud?

She should definitely be proud of her performance. Making your debut for the first team is already something that comes with a lot of pressure, however in also being the youngest player to do so there were high expectations. Sarah dealt with this brilliantly and never looked out of place. I’m sure she will be getting time in the team again within the season.

We received the sad news this month that Paige Shorten is leaving us, and we wish her the best. How big of an impact has she had for the club and yourself on a personal level?

It’s been such a pleasure to have Paige coach me for the time I’ve been at this club. She was a manager that cared on such a personal level for all the players, which is something I think is going to be really hard to replicate. I’ve learned masses under her and I wish her nothing but the best of luck in her new role, not that she needs it!

Paige has overseen a lot of the current squad come through the Academy. So seeing them all progress into the first team and getting them England call ups is a testament to her hard work?

It certainly is a testament to her hard work. To have so many players be called up for their respective age group just shows the level of coaching we are exposed to at the club, and how far players are able to go with this support. Paige has played a massive part in all of our careers so far.

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WSL Academy season set to return

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Ipswich Town’s u21 season was set to return this week as they were scheduled to host West Ham u21 at Playford Road, but this has since been called off due to the international call ups.

The young Tractor Girls’ will now have to wait until 4th November before they kick off their new season when they welcome Bristol City u21 to Suffolk. Although, Ipswich do host Kesgrave Kestrels in the Suffolk Cup on the 1st November, the same day the first team head to Norwich to face their East Anglian rivals in the 3rd round qualifying for the FA Cup, so it’s highly likely the team facing Kesgrave will be fully made up of Academy players, as most of the more featured players will head up the A140 with Joe and the first team.

Before last season was cut short, the u21 side were sitting mid-table after 17 games played with 8 wins, 1 draw and 8 losses to their name. They have some tough opposition in their league, facing the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton in the top tier of Women’s Academy football.

The West Ham game will now be rearranged but the Tractor Girls’ would have been relishing facing last season’s bottom side, who had lost all 16 of their games before the season was cut short and sat bottom of the league with a -84 goal difference. With the Ipswich first team flying high currently, players eligible for the u21’s currently in the first team would have been looking on keenly at this opening fixture which would have been held at Playford Road behind closed doors.

Instead, the young blues will now await the visit from Bristol City next month, then Reading a week later.