Dean backs Town to break 100 barrier

DEAN Bowditch has backed the Blues to hit 100 league goals this season.Championship leaders Ipswich have already reached the 50-mark after 26 games and England Under-19 hit-man Bowditch believes Town will get even better in 2005.

By Derek Davis

DEAN Bowditch has backed the Blues to hit 100 league goals this season.

Championship leaders Ipswich have already reached the 50-mark after 26 games and England Under-19 hit-man Bowditch believes Town will get even better in 2005.

He said: “We are top of the league and playing well but we have not reached our peak yet, we can play even better.

“We will play worse than we did at Millwall and win games, it was one of those things and we know we can always bounce back, as we showed on Tuesday when we beat Stoke.”

Only skipper Jim Magilton, Fabian Wilnis, Kevin Horlock and the injured Drissa Diallo, from the first team outfield players, have failed to score so far this season and Town have scored in every one of their home matches during 2004.

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That, believes Bowditch, is the key to doubling the goals tally in the next 19 games.

He said: “We can reach that magic 100. We have got players all over who can score. Tommy Miller gets them, Richard Naylor, Ian Westlake, everyone has scored, even defenders.

“It is a team game and if we keep working hard, keep our shape and create the chances we will keep scoring.”

Although frustrated at not being able to play a bigger part in Town's successful season so far, the back-up striker is hopeful that he can still weigh in with a couple of goals himself towards the landmark.

Two of his three goals this season came in the opening three games, but the Essex boy has not had much opportunity to shine recently and has to adjust his sights slightly.

Bowditch said: “I did set a target pre-season but it will depend how often I get to play and see how many I get. At the moment I will be happy to reach five, but that can change.”

Although there has been a lot of speculation about clubs checking out the talented prodigy, Bowditch is not looking to go anywhere after being with Town since he was 10.

The 18-year-old said: “I'm happy here and I'm ready to be patient. I'm not unhappy in the slightest, and not thinking of going anywhere, not even to go out on loan.

“I will keep plugging away and give the manager a problem by doing well in the reserves and in training. I'm still young and I'm still delighted just to be in the squad.”

Bowditch admits it is frustrating watching from the dug-out but, at the same time, understands the reasons why the manager has not been able to use him more.

He said: “You want to be out there playing but the team are playing well, Darren and Shefki are banging in the goals and we are winning games, so you can't complain.

“It is only if we have a slump and you might say to the manager 'why can't you put me in?' but we are not.

“The guys on the bench are all backing the starting lads. We are all in it together. We are in the changing room before the game encouraging them and at half-time we tell them how well they are doing, or might try and pass something on that might help.

“If we get the chance to go on then we need to be ready and know what is going on.”

Being top at the New Year has historically meant the leaders get promoted over the past 12 seasons, but Bowditch insists the players are not taking any notice of that.

He said: “It is a good statistic, but we can't take much notice of that, and we have to go out to win game-by- game and pick up three points.

“We might look at it again about March time and, perhaps, decide then if we can start getting excited but at the moment it is a long way off.”

Town can take a step close to their dream by beating challengers West Ham this afternoon but Bowditch warned it won't be a stroll.

He added: “They are a terrific side, they struggled a bit at Rotherham but we know they are capable of scoring plenty from open play as well.

“So we have to keep our shape and take our chances when they come.”

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