Bowditch signs new Town deal

WONDERKID Dean Bowditch has signed a new three-year deal to stay at Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.The Bishop's Stortford youngster, who was 17 last month, put pen to paper last night after making his mark in five first-team appearances last season.

WONDERKID Dean Bowditch has signed a new three-year deal to stay at Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

The Bishop's Stortford youngster, who was 17 last month, put pen to paper last night after making his mark in five first-team appearances last season.

Bowditch made his debut in spectacular fashion, going on as a substitute at Norwich and helping set up Fabian Wilnis and Darren Bent to score in the 2-0 win at Carrow Road.

A regular in a number of England age groups, Bowditch has been with Ipswich since joining the Academy as a 10-year-old.


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Blues boss Joe Royle, a decent centre-forward in his day with England and Everton, believes Bowditch will go a long way.

Royle said: "Dean has a smashing future ahead of him. He showed glimpses of what he could do at the end of last season and really to make that sort of impression in Division One shows he is ahead of his time."

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Bowditch made the transition from Academy star to first-team striker with relative ease, his pace and intelligent play in evidence, and now he has come back having grown a little more during the summer.

Royle said: "He was not meant to come back until Wednesday but we couldn't stop him, he is so keen to get going.

"He is a bright lad from a great family and we are all really excited about his prospects, although we don't want to burden him with too much expectation too early."

Along with Darren Bent, Bowditch has been given an extra week off after international duty at the end of last season, but he insisted on coming back early and will rejoin the first-team squad today.

Royle was also excited by the emergence of even more talent from the Academy with Aidan Collins, Antonio Murray and Ian Westlake tipped to put pressure on first-team places, although the impressive Matt Bloomfield suffered a set-back with a cruciate ligament injury hampering his progress.

The Town attack looks an exciting proposition with Bowditch pushing a wealth of strikers, including fellow teenage sensation Darren Bent, who is maturing into a consistent and deadly finisher.

The experienced Marcus Bent has the ability to get 30 goals a season, once he stays injury free and can get his head just right.

Last season's top-scorer Pablo Counago is adjusting well to the English game and his all-round performances are getting him noticed at home and abroad.

A fit Alun Armstrong is a dangerous goalscorer, especially in the air. His hold-up play and link work make him a valuable asset in this division although it is probable he will be taken on a free transfer.

And Bowditch's strike partner in the under-19s and then the reserves, Sam Morrow, is another exciting prospect looking to push on.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Chris Turner claims Joe Royle has made inquiries about Finland striker Shefki Kuqi but omits to mention it was months ago when Town were threadbare up front.

Meanwhile, Town's Division One rivals are keeping themselves busy in the transfer market with Millwall having a bid, believed to be close to £1m, accepted by Crewe for the much-wanted Rob Hulse.

That has thwarted Norwich City, who also tabled a bid but have yet to hear back from Alex, while West Bromwich Albion and Wigan are also in the hunt.

Hulse has already turned down a move to Cardiff City but appears to be more interested in a move to London.

Nottingham Forest and Sunderland are keen on Shaun Goater, although Mick McCarthy knows he has to sell before he can bring anyone new in but he has not received any offers for strikers Kevin Phillips, Tore Andre Flo or Marcus Stewart, never mind any other players.

Paul Hart is looking to bolster his front line, although David Johnson and Marlon Harewood proved a deadly combination last season and Ian Westcarr is hotly tipped to progress well.

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