Dean's debt to Joe

THINK goals and sleep goals - that is the advice Dean Bowditch has taken to heart from manager Joe Royle.With Nicky Forster ruled out of tomorrow's game at home to Sheffield Wednesday after knee surgery, the young Blues striker will make his first start for Ipswich since last November, with those words of wisdom ringing in his ears.

By Derek Davis

THINK goals and sleep goals - that is the advice Dean Bowditch has taken to heart from manager Joe Royle.

With Nicky Forster ruled out of tomorrow's game at home to Sheffield Wednesday after knee surgery, the young Blues striker will make his first start for Ipswich since last November, with those words of wisdom ringing in his ears.

Bowditch's confidence is on a high after regularly finding the net in pre-season and for the reserves, despite a sore foot forcing him to miss the opening two Championship games.


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He hit two at Cambridge United, scored again at Ujpest TE and bagged a brace against Portsmouth Reserves at Portman Road on Monday and is now looking for his first league goal for Town since scoring in the 2-1 win at Coventry City last October.

Bowditch said: “I was really pleased with getting the two goals on Monday.

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“Last season my weakness was not scoring enough and that should be my strength.

“The manager told me over the summer that I should think goals, sleep goals, and that is what I have done.

“I have worked hard over the summer and have come back blazing.

“The injury came at the wrong time and it meant I couldn't play for the first couple of games but I came on against Leicester and felt I did really well.

“I'm getting stronger. The manager wants me to score goals and I'm doing that.”

The 19-year-old young England international is determined to snap up the chance afforded him after Forster's unfortunate injury but knows that with Town's new and effective defensive policy goalscoring chances may be fewer than in the past.

He said: “My finishing ratio needs to be good. There is a lot of competition between myself Fozzie and Sammy, and Dean McDonald's coming through, so the competition for places is hot.

“If you are playing well and scoring goals then there is no reason why the manager won't put you in,” he said.

Bowditch spent a three-month loan spell at Burnley last season, scoring once, and feels that will help him at Portman Road this season.

He added: “Getting the games and experience at Burnley helped me a lot. It was more defensive-minded there and I have learnt that side of the game. I learned about getting back into position quicker and how to not let players run off me. I have come back and the coaches have noticed that so if he (Royle) picks me hopefully I can take my chance.”

Royle last night confirmed that Bowditch will partner Sam Parkin against the Owls, with McDonald as the back-up striker on the bench, providing he has recovered fully from a foot injury picked up on Monday.

He said: “Dean will start. He has looked sharp and has been among the goals in pre-season and deserves his chance. This is the next step for Dean to show his consistency in the first team.”

Lewis Price has a chance of being available for Saturday, although Shane Supple could still start and if Price is not passed fit there will be no back-up keeper on the bench.

Supple was given another pleasant surprise this week when Dion Dublin sent him a signed shirt after reading that the young Irishman supported Aston Villa as a kid and the big striker-cum-centre-half was one of his boyhood heroes.

Royle added: “I would have no qualms about starting with Shane. He showed his capabilities last week. We have great confidence in both keepers. We decided in the summer to give both a chance and I'm glad we did.”

derek.davis@archant.co.uk

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