Dean's Premiership dreaming
DEAN Bowditch can't help himself.While constantly reminding himself that it is only the beginning of December, the 18-year-old hotshot can't stop looking at the table and dreaming of playing in the Premiership in the August sunshine.
By Derek Davis
DEAN Bowditch can't help himself.
While constantly reminding himself that it is only the beginning of December, the 18-year-old hotshot can't stop looking at the table and dreaming of playing in the Premiership in the August sunshine.
Fortunately, the England Under-19 star has learned the art of patience and can wait to reach the big time, or even to get back in the Blues' starting line-up.
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After starting the season with two goals in three starts, Bowditch has found himself warming the bench more often than not, but he knows opportunities will knock.
With five games in 12 days coming up soon, the Essex lad is biding his time.
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Bowditch said: “You can't help but think that we could be playing in the Premiership soon. This is a big month for us and we have to take it game by game.
“It will be a tough time for all of us. The manager has to juggle with players, seeing how much time to give different players.
“The more experienced players have done it before. People like Westy (Ian Westlake) and Benty (Darren Bent) will probably play every game, so they have to pace themselves.”
Bowditch, who made his debut against Norwich City last year, admits it has been frustrating waiting to get another run in the side, but he is prepared to wait, and sees Dean Ashton as a good example.
The Crewe striker missed most of last season with injury and being dropped but is now on the verge of a £2.5m move to Spurs, after scoring 15 goals in the first-half of the season.
Bowditch said: “When you first get in the team you try your hardest and, sometimes, you can try too hard. For some people it comes off.
“Bad injuries, a dip in form, it is frustrating, but Ashton has bounced back from all that and done well.”
The Academy star thought his big moment had come again against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light but, after an impressive first-half, a kick from Jeff Whitley wrecked his day, forcing him off with an ankle injury.
He said: “I was really looking forward to it. My parents had come up to see me play, so it was a big occasion for me. Then to get injured was really sickening but I could barely walk, so I had to come off.
“Luckily, I healed quickly and I'm back on the bench, but that is football, it is frustrating.”
It is probable that Bowditch will start on the bench today, unless manager Joe Royle reverts to a three-pronged strike force at Crewe.
Bowditch is ready for action. He said: “You never know when the call will come. The manager looks at different formations against different teams and may think 'he will do well against them' and just throw me in there.
“I don't know how the manager's mind works and I suppose it must be hard for him, with four good strikers to choose from.
“I'm only young. I will just go out there and do my best and enjoy myself.
“Luckily I'm quite patient as a player. I like learning from other players and waiting my chance and I'm still just 18.
“The manager is protecting me as he doesn't want to get me out too early in case I don't live up to expectation. It is hard for him and it is hard for me.
“It doesn't help that Shefki (Kuqi) and Darren have been playing so well and you can't really leave them out of the team. They are scoring goals and notching points and we are sitting on top of the table.”
He still can't help himself. Bowditch wants to play, wants to keep staring at the table and dream of the big time with Ipswich.