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Stratford rest Stephens ahead of Ipswich Town chance





Ben Stephens will play again for Ipswich Town U23s on Thursday. Photo: Steve Wood
Ben Stephens will play again for Ipswich Town U23s on Thursday. Photo: Steve Wood

FOOTBALL

STRATFORD Town will omit top scorer Ben Stephens from tonight’s Evo-Stik Southern Premier trip to Basingstoke Town to give him the best chance to secure a dream move to Ipswich Town.

Stephens will get a second chance to feature for the Tractor Boys Under-23s side away to Aston Villa on Thursday.

Town manager Carl Adams says the club will be willing the 20-year-old to impress and secure a full-time professional contract.

“As a football club, we are going to give the kid every chance to get himself a great move,” Adams told the Herald.

“He won’t play against Basingstoke on Tuesday. He will take time out and rest up to go and play for Ipswich on Thursday. Hopefully he will do well and he gets his dream move.”

Stephens, who has netted 18 goals for Town this season, returned to the Blues on Saturday after being rested the previous week ahead of Ipswich’s U23sPremier League Cup tie at Villa which was subsequently postponed. Now it has been rescheduled for Thursday at Hednesford Town’s Keys Park home.

“I’m hoping Ben gets his move,” said Adams. “By all accounts he has done well in training but they want to see whether he can do it in a game. In fairness, Ipswich are giving him every chance so good luck to him.

“He is a special talent at our level. He is only 20 and he can certainly play higher.”

Stratford will head to Basingstoke looking to complete a hat-trick to wins to follow victories against Dorchester and Dunstable.

Adams was pleased with how they managed the game on Saturday, and with keeping only their second clean sheet since Boxing Day.

Full-back Dan Summerfield will face a fitness test after being ruled out with a knee injury against Dunstable, while midfielder James Fry should be available after completing his suspension.



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