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Ipswich Town Women's Eva Hubbard confirms departure while Paige Peake signs for Southampton

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Two defenders have departed Ipswich Town Women this week.

The long-serving Eva Hubbard was first to announce her exit on Tuesday, followed 24 hours later by Paige Peake, who has joined Barclays Women’s Championship side Southampton on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.

Mellis-raised Hubbard has spent the past six years turning out for the Tractor Girls, during which time the team has risen up the women’s football pyramid.

Eva Hubbard has spent the last six seasons with Ipswich Town Women. Picture: Ross Halls
Eva Hubbard has spent the last six seasons with Ipswich Town Women. Picture: Ross Halls

Starting opportunities were harder to come by last season as Ipswich pushed for promotion to the Championship, yet she still made 24 appearances and was part of the squad that reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup.

However, the team's former captain has decided to pursue new playing challenges elsewhere, although she will remain connected with the club in her role as community development officer with the Ipswich Town Foundation.

The ex-Hartismere School pupil told the Ipswich website: “I would like to thank the club for all they have done for me.

“I have decided that I will be leaving the team to focus on my career, part of which is to aid the development and progression of our female youth age groups into the WSL academy set-up, and hopefully the first team too.”

“I have seen many players and staff come and go over the years, and I’ve built some great relationships that I believe will last a long time. But for now, it is time for me to move on and get back to enjoying my football whilst being able to focus on other priorities in my life.”

“I will be cheering the girls on in Felixstowe whenever I can, and I wish them all the best for this season and beyond.”

Peake, meanwhile, signed her first professional contract with Ipswich last summer.

And while the Tractor Girls lost out on the battle for promotion with Southampton during the 2021/22 campaign, the 19-year-old captured the attention of the Saints' head of girls' and women's football Marieanne Spacey-Cale.

She told the Southampton website: "Paige is a player that I’ve admired since playing Ipswich Town last season.

"She’s a fantastic addition to the squad; She brings set-peice expertise, she’s a strong defender and she reads the game really well. She’ll add absolute value and quality to this squad."