'When we get him right we're going to have a very good player on our hands' - Hurst keen to get Dozzell up to speed
PUBLISHED: 06:00 31 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town fans shouldn't expect too much, too soon from returning starlet Andre Dozzell.
So says Blues boss Paul Hurst after the 19-year-old produced a sublime assist in last Saturday’s 2-1 home friendly defeat to West Ham.
Dozzell scored on his senior Town debut aged 16 and was part of the England team which won the European Championships last summer, but his 2017/18 campaign was cruelly ended just as it had begun thanks to a cruciate knee injury on the opening day.
The highly-rated teenager has been the model professional with his rehab and insisted he is ready to come back stronger than ever before.
He’s featured in all five of Town’s pre-season games thus far, culminating in 79 minutes of action against the Hammers.
“I’m not really judging him at the minute because he’s not fit,” said Hurst, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Championship opener against Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road.
“That might sound strange to you guys when he’s played a lot of minutes, but he’s played more than I was probably expecting him to.
“I don’t want this to be misunderstood or anything. I think Andre Dozzell’s a real talent, everyone’s pleased that he’s an Ipswich Town player and on our books, but at this moment in time he’s nowhere near the fitness levels that he would want and we want.
“That’s not a criticism, that’s just the fact of where he’s at.
“And we need to do all we can to get him up there because there’s bits where he’s shown his quality, the pass for the goal was probably the stand-out moment, and when we get him right we’re going to have a very good player on our hands.”
Hurst hopes to have Cole Skuse (thigh) fit again this weekend, having started the homegrown trio of Dozzell, Tristan Nydam and Flynn Downes in his absence.
Meanwhile, Town striker Aaron Drinan played for Sutton United in their 1-0 friendly victory over Norwich City’s U23s at the weekend with view to joining the National League side on loan.
The 20-year-old joined the Blues from Irish side Waterford back in January and is yet to make a first team appearance, despite having been on the bench on five occasions.