'The last thing I want is to be a one-trick pony' - Dozzell keen to boost his stats

Andre Dozzell goes close with a first half free kick.

Andre Dozzell in action for Ipswich Town during a stop-start 2019/20 season. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell is keen to add goals to his game and prove he is 'not just a one trick pony'.

The 21-year-old has started 35 out of 41 games this season, finally getting regular action following four stop-start years hit by long-term injury and then sporadic selection.

Having scored on a dream debut, aged just 16, at Sheffield Wednesday back in 2016, Dozzell has netted just twice more - in a 3-2 win against Leeds on the final day of the Championship relegation season and in a 1-1 FA Cup draw against Lincoln last season - over a further 68 starts and 14 substitute appearances.

There have also been just two direct assists for a player who has often operated as a deep-lying playmaker and taken a lot of set-pieces.

“I think there is a lot more to come from me," he said. "In this day and age stats are a big thing – like assists and goals for example – and I’m looking to keep pushing on and get the numbers up.

“The gaffer has spoken about it. If we haven’t created or scored enough goals it’s not just down to the forwards. The midfield players, in fact everyone, we all have a part to play.”

He continued: “I think anyone in midfield should be looking to add a few goals to their game, myself included, and especially now that I’m playing as one of two (sitting midfielders), whereas before I was the one and I wasn’t getting the same amount of opportunities to score, except for the odd occasion.

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“Now there are two of us in midfield, one can go forward, and if I play even higher I can get more goals."

Andre Dozzell breaks forward at Gillingham

Andre Dozzell breaks forward at Gillingham. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Under Paul Lambert's management, Dozzell's role was to sit deep, collect the ball off the back four and start attacks. After an impressive start to the season, teams started to man mark him. 

“That is something we spoke about," he said. "During the game you need to think about how you are going to deal with, and get out of, that situation.

“Whether that’s going to three at the back or creating space for the centre-halves to drive into, it’s something that you need to figure out there and then."

On his new role as one of two sitters in Paul Cook's favoured 4-2-3-1 system, he said: "If I’m playing as the one (sitting midfielder) I can play diagonal passes both right and left. But if I'm more on the left side in a two, rather than risking a long diagonal pass I can give it to my other midfield player and he can go out that way.

“It is good playing alongside someone else because it allows me to get forward a bit more – I’ll go and try to create a bit more while he will sit – so it’s all good.

“The last thing I want is to be a one-trick pony, where I am just a passer of the ball. I do like driving forward with the ball now and then, trying to help the attackers create as well.”

Andre Dozzell with a first half corner. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Andre Dozzell signed a new contract until 2024 in December. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller

He added: “In terms of my own personal form this season, I think I started well and then dropped off a bit. But I am definitely finding that the more games I play, the better I become and the more I can show what I can do.

“It has been good to make so many starts but if we don’t get to where we want to be as a team I don’t feel it will mean anything. We’ve just got to keep working hard and get into the play-offs, if not higher.”

Having lost three of Cook's first five games in charge, Town have slipped back to 10th in the League One table. A run-in packed with plenty of games against relegation battling sides starts at Wigan tomorrow and then continues with matches against against Bristol Rovers (h) and Rochdale (a) over the Easter weekend. 

“We know it hasn’t been good enough for the last few games but I believe this week – a whole week of training without a midweek game – will do us the world of good," said Dozzell.

“It’s now or never for us. We have 11 games left to play and we need a winning run before the games start to run out. This is it – 11 cup finals left to play so we need to push on and really get in amongst it.

“All three of our next opponents are down there and that means they are fighting for their lives and have everything to play for. It’s not going to be easy by all means but we know we have the quality and if we turn up we will get three points from each of them."

On Cook's first proper week on the training pitch with his new players, Dozzell added: “We’ve had double sessions and we’ve put a lot of time and effort into working on structure and shape.

“I would say it has been really productive. I really enjoy the double sessions and it’s good to keep doing it. The manager always talks about the more we do it, the more it’s going to be in our brains, so it’s good for all of us.

“Different managers all have their different philosophies and all that stuff, so it is different, but it has been really good so far and hopefully we can carry that on.

“The new gaffer wants us midfielders to feed the front lads as much as we can and play forward as much as we can. It’s good for us and I hope the results follow.”

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