Connor Wickham future ‘in the balance’

JASON Dozzell last night forecast a bright future for Ipswich Town striker Connor Wickham.

But he voiced fears that the 17-year-old might have to move on from the Blues to seek his fortune.

Wickham is in line to face Doncaster Rovers in the Championship at Portman Road on Saturday just over 12 months after making his senior debut against the Yorkshire-based club.

When he came bursting on in the 65th minute substitute o replace Veliche Shumulikoski, Wickham became the youngest player to make his Town first team debut.

He was 16 years and 11 days – 46 days younger than when Dozzell played his first Ipswich game in February 1984.

“Connor is going to be a player,” said Dozzell.

“He has a good left and right foot and can head the ball.

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“He also has strength, and I see pictures of myself against Coventry on my Ipswich debut and I looked like a rake.”

Dozzell says that Wickham has done the right thing by signing an Ipswich contract that takes him up to the summer of 2012.

“Roy Keane knows what is best for Connor,” added Dozzell, who now runs youth soccer schools in Ipswich.

“And it will be better for his education over the next year or so to be playing first team football at Portman Road than to be perhaps on the fringe of a reserve team at a Premier League club.

“But the big money is in the Premier League and after a few years learning his trade Ipswich may not be able to keep Connor.”

Dozzell does not begrudge Wickham taking his record away from him, but he is pleased that the teenager did not score until this season.

“I’ve managed to keep one record as the club’s youngest scoring having netted on my debut – and that was in the top flight,” added Dozzell.

“I watched Connor play several times this season, but I missed his home goal against Scunthorpe as it came late and I had just left!

“Having spoken to Connor he is a mature lad and I don’t think he is need of any advice from me.

“He’s got a good agent in Paul Goddard and good people around him and there are no worries that he will be sidetracked in his quest to reach the top.”

Wickham has been linked with a summer move to Sunderland – with Daryl Murphy and fellow striker David Healy said to be involved as makeweights in any deal.

Both Murphy and Healy are on loan at Ipswich from the Black Cats for the next three games and Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has confirmed that both are available for permanent moves.

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