Dean keen to win first-team spot

DEAN McDonald is ready to return to Portman Road and launch a fresh challenge to establish himself in the first-team.The striker celebrated his first-ever league goal with loan club Hartlepool on Saturday and is due to return to Ipswich on Sunday.

By Derek Davis

DEAN McDonald is ready to return to Portman Road and launch a fresh challenge to establish himself in the first-team.

The striker celebrated his first-ever league goal with loan club Hartlepool on Saturday and is due to return to Ipswich on Sunday.

McDonald has done so well for the League One side that manager Martin Scott wants to keep him for another month, although Blues boss Joe Royle has yet to agree to an extension.


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The 19-year-old is due to play against Walsall on Saturday and, even though he has relished regular first-team football at Victoria Park, he has ambitions to step up with the Blues in the Championship.

McDonald last night told the EADT: “I have really enjoyed my stay with Hartlepool. Everyone here has made me feel very welcome and it has been a good experience for me.

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“It has been great playing every week and to score my first league goal is an important step for me. I don't know whether I will be staying or not, it is out of my hands for the moment.

“It is up to the gaffer to decide if he wants me back to stay and it only comes down to me if the extension is granted and I will have to choose. It has been good here, but my ambition is to be playing in the Championship with Ipswich and playing and scoring regularly in the first team.”

McDonald broke his duck with what proved to be the winning goal for the Pools against Bournemouth, and it was a sweetly-struck left-foot drive from the edge of area. McDonald said: “Scoring my first goal of the season was an amazing feeling. Getting a milestone like that has given me a massive boost.

“I feel I have been doing well here at Hartlepool, but scoring is what I have needed to do. Now that I have got my first league goal, I'm sure more will come.”

The Blues have been closely monitoring McDonald's progress and the former Arsenal loanee, who also hit a post in that game, was named in the Football League team of the week. So it is little wonder Scott wants to hold on to the little diamond.

The Pools boss said: “I have been delighted with Dean since he came to the club. He has got great talent and is highly-rated by Joe Royle at Ipswich.

“He needs to play games and if he keeps playing the way he plays here, he will get recognised. We are delighted with him and the fans have really took to him.

“All of the strikers who have played this season have been different class for different reasons, but he has been the missing link that we have needed.

“We would certainly like to prolong the deal. The lad is enjoying himself and he is playing games.

“He is a young lad who wants to progress as a footballer. We will have to speak to Joe and see what his plans are and if he thinks it is right for Dean McDonald to stay longer but we will find out when we talk next week.”

McDonald has been keeping tabs on events at Ipswich. He was at Elland Road to support the lads as they won through in the FA Youth Cup and was quick to be updated about Danny Haynes scoring on his home debut.

He added: “I was chuffed for Danny, it really help make my weekend.”

McDonald has made three starts and five substitute appearances for the Blues so far, since signing a one year deal in the summer.

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