Dean's delight at first-team return

DEAN Bowditch, once the darling of the Ipswich Town fans, today thanked his manager for the chance to take the first steps back to the first-team scene.

Elvin King

DEAN Bowditch, once the darling of the Ipswich Town fans, today thanked his manager for the chance to take the first steps back to the first-team scene.

Bowditch, 22, did not play a single first-team game last season for the Blues after looking a hot property as a teenager.

Town manager Jim Magilton gave him a new one-year contract in June, and Bowditch played the last nine minutes of last night's 4-1 Carling Cup defeat against Wigan Athletic.

“I am grateful for having the chance,” said Bowditch. “I have been working my socks off in training and now I want some more bench action and to eventually work my way into the team.

“You need a touch of arrogance to make it in football and all the top players have it.

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“I have now re-found my self-belief and am confident again in my own ability.

“It is just like I was when I first broke into the side when there was no pressure. I am feeling no pressure again now.”

Bowditch got his chance with fellow strikers Jon Stead cup tied, Pablo Counago injured and Billy Clarke and Jordan Rhodes out on loan. But it is a start for a player who looked as though he might be on his way from Portman Road in the summer.

“I feel deflated for the boys,” added Bowditch. “The scoreline flattered Wigan and if we play like we did for most of the game against Coca-Cola Championship opposition we will move right up the table.

“We ripped them apart and played so well in the first half. Nine times out of ten Tommy Miller would have put the chances he had away. He always does in training. I just hope our fans can see the positives.

“The score does not look good on face value, but the team deserves credit for the way it created chances against a well organised Premier League side.

“Our fans have been very good, but it was just not our night.”

There is good news about Counago. A scan has shown that he has no major ligament damage to the ankle he hurt in training last Friday and he could even be available for selection against Crystal Palace at Portman Road on Saturday.