Dinning to join Town

EXPERIENCED midfielder Tony Dinning will today join Ipswich Town on a two-month loan deal with a view to a permanent move.Blues boss Joe Royle was last night delighted to secure the services of the 29-year-old attacking midfielder who was a team-mate of Jason De Vos at Wigan.

By Derek Davis

EXPERIENCED midfielder Tony Dinning will today join Ipswich Town on a two-month loan deal with a view to a permanent move.

Blues boss Joe Royle was last night delighted to secure the services of the 29-year-old attacking midfielder who was a team-mate of Jason De Vos at Wigan. The Latics have agreed to let him join their Championship rivals after Dinning was edged out of their first team picture with the arrival of Per Frandsen from Bolton and the rapid rise of Jimmy Bullard.

Royle said: “Tony is still only 29 but a very good player. I remember him particularly well from when he was at Stockport and went on to be almost a £1m player.

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“He has been pushed out a little at Wigan and we have given him two months to show what he can do and if he proves himself he could land a permanent deal.

“I have always said we are playing 4-3-3 because we are short of numbers in midfield.

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“With Jim Magilton injured we would have been going into unknown territory had another midfielder gone down, so we needed to bring him in. We have Antonio Murray and Scott Mitchell who are good young players but they are not quite ready yet.

“Jason was very complimentary about Tony when we asked about him and we are looking forward to having him here.”

Geordie-born Dinning was a trainee at Newcastle United with Alun Armstrong and the duo joined Stockport County together after being released from St James' Park.

The 6ft. hard-working tackler joined Wolves in a £600,000 move in September 2000 before a £750,000 switch to Wigan a year later. He went on loan to Stoke City for a brief period two years ago.

Ipswich boss Joe Royle is fighting a rearguard action to keep hold of red-hot prospect Dean Bowditch. Aston Villa have become the latest club to show strong interest in the 18-year-old who hit the winner against Gillingham on Saturday.

A number of Premiership and SPL clubs are known to be keen on the striker who once turned down Manchester United. When asked if clubs had asked about buying Bowditch, Royle enigmatically replied: “That would be telling.”

It is clear they have and while the Blues are not in the same position of a year ago where they would have had to accept offers for players, they would still have to listen to serious money bids.

Although Royle would rather get rid of Pablo Counago or Shefki Kuqi and keep all the young home-grown talent, the harsh realities of football finance mean if he wants to further strengthen his squad he will have to sell.

Villa were among a number of clubs who sent senior scouts to watch him play on Saturday and score a goal former England international Royle would have been proud of netting himself.

He said: “I never scored any like that. Mine were six-yard drives or tap-ins. He meant it too. Sometimes when someone scores one like that you wonder if he meant it but Dean did.

“I am not going to compare him to Matt Le Tissier but it was the kind of goal Matt would have scored.”

Bowditch is ignoring all interest for the time being and instead is concentrating on improving his goal tally for this season.

He said: “Hopefully that will be the first of many. I scored five last season and didn't play too many games. Perhaps I will start more games this season so I have set an in initial target of 10 goals.”

The sweetly-struck winner, 35 seconds into the second half, ensured Ipswich have already got off to a better start than last season when they picked up just two points in six games.

Paul Smith had given the Gills the lead before Richard Naylor headed in the equaliser from man of the match Kevin Horlock's corner.

Drissa Diallo crossed for Bowditch to finish superbly from 14-yards with a first time shot.

Bowditch said: “It was purely instinctive. I didn't fancy taking a touch although I probably had time and just went for the corner and in it went.”

The young England forward was used in a three man attack which he enjoys playing.

He said: “The three up front has worked for us in pre-season. The manager did it initially as a bit of variation because we played with two up front most of the time last season. I don't mind it, being on the left means I can come inside to help out. Sometimes Shefki or Pablo can become a bit isolated so I can go in and help them if needed.

“You need to be versatile and it is all about being knowledgeable about the game.”

The goal was something of a relief, and not just because it was the winner, as Bowditch felt partially responsible for the mistake by Ian Westlake, which allowed the Gills to open the scoring.

He said: “There was a bit of a mix up between us and we lost the ball. I was chasing back but it was such a good ball from Byfield for Smith and I wasn't able to stop it. I felt a little bit responsible as well so I was glad to get the winner.”

Dean's brother Ben has recently signed for Colchester and the family moved to Braintree last year.

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