MK Dons striker Dean Bowditch aiming to get the better of his first love, Ipswich Town

Dean Bowditch. Picture: Lee Scriven

Dean Bowditch. Picture: Lee Scriven - Credit: Archant

MK Dons striker Dean Bowditch made his name as a youngster at Ipswich Town, but will be desperate to get one over on his former employers when the teams go head to head in Buckinghamshire on Saturday (12.30pm kick-off, Sky Sports).

Dean Bowditch celebrates his hat-trick for Ipswich Town against Watford

Dean Bowditch celebrates his hat-trick for Ipswich Town against Watford

The 29-year-old scored nine goals in 82 appearances for Town, between 2002 and 2009, but much of his spell in Suffolk involved being farmed out to League One clubs on loan as he failed to hold down a regular spot with Town.

Now, the Hertfordshire-born forward is back in the Championship, with the Dons, and preparing for his first-ever game against Ipswich.

There is extra pressure on Bowditch to do well – manager Karl Robinson having told his newly-promoted players that their MK careers were on the line after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford left them out of the Championship relegation zone on goal difference.

“It has been tougher than we all thought,” Bowditch told the MK Dons website.

“The chairman has put the stadium and infrastructure in place for us to be at the top level.”

He added: “The difficulty has been turned up a few notches at this level, but we’ll be OK, I’m sure of that.

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“But we cannot have any more games like we did on Saturday against Brentford.”

Only Tommy Smith and Luke Hyam remain as players from Bowditch’s time at Ipswich, but the Blues – currently a point off the play-off places in ninth – are a club that the former Yeovil frontman holds dear to his heart.

I’ll always have a fondness for Ipswich – it’s the club I grew up at,” said Bowditch, who finest moment in a Town shirt saw him score a hat-trick against Watford in a 4-1 televised home win, in March 2004.

“I was there from the age of 10 and I left when I was 21 so I was there for a long time.

“They helped me develop into the player I am today.

“They’ve produced a lot of good players and I think that helped me at the time – I had some great players around me and that’s why I enjoyed it so much.

“I made a lot of good friends there. There are a few people that I still speak to, mostly the coaches that I worked with growing up. I still have a great fondness for the club and always look out for how they’re getting on.”

As for his hat-trick against the Hornets, Bowditch added: “It was a long, long time ago now so my memory is a little bit faded.

“It was the easiest hat-trick I’m ever going to score. Their keeper helped me out with two of the goals.

“It was a great achievement, although I didn’t realise how good it was at the time because I was only a kid.

“To score a hat-trick on your first home start on television – it doesn’t really get much better than that.”

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