Royle's challenge to Bowditch

BLUES boss Joe Royle has challenged Dean Bowditch to show he has come back a stronger player after his loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers.Bowditch returns to the Ipswich fold for the trip to Luton Town tomorrow with front man Alan Lee struggling to play after suffering from a groin injury, having recently recovering from a hamstring tear.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle has challenged Dean Bowditch to show he has come back a stronger player after his loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers.

Bowditch returns to the Ipswich fold for the trip to Luton Town tomorrow with front man Alan Lee struggling to play after suffering from a groin injury, having recently recovering from a hamstring tear.

Royle is hoping Lee will come through training today and will decide tomorrow morning whether to keep him in the starting line-up.


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Jay McEveley is also added to the 17-man squad, with Dean McDonald dropping out.

Former Arsenal trainee McDonald, who has been told he will not be offered a new deal with Ipswich, is already attracting interest from a number of clubs including Blackpool and Bradford City.

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Royle said: “Because Dean McDonald did so well when he was on loan at Hartlepool he is bound to attract a lot of interest from lower league clubs and we have already have preliminary inquiries from a few clubs.

“But Dean Bowditch coming back was a factor in us not offering McDonald a deal. Bowditch is in the squad for Saturday and we will see how he has benefited from being at Wycombe Wanderers.

“He might have only scored one goal while at Wycombe but there has never been a doubt about Dean's talent but we need to see a better end product. He has pace and ability but he needs to show more aggression and that end product.”

Bowditch still has two years left on his current contract at Portman Road and has been another popular player who has risen through the youth ranks, making a big impression when he made a winning debut in the East Anglian derby at Norwich.

Travelling with the squad, but an injury doubt, is the 36-year-old Jim Magilton who is struggling to be fit to play as his arthritic toe is swollen.

With Juan Juan training normally Town have a ready-made replacement and the Frenchman is likely to start alongside Owen Garvan in midfield.

Royle said: “Jim is unlikely to be fit but Jimmy trained and came through fine.”

The Blues boss also admitted that in an ideal world he would have liked the Ulsterman to stay longer at Portman Road, but finances and evolution ruled out the possibility of that happening.

Royle said: “Jim has made his mind up and the time is right for him. It is also right for us with the emergence of so many midfielders at the club.

“In the right situation it would have been lovely for Jim to stay because he is excellent around the place but we don't have that luxury and anyway it is probably time for Jim to strike out on his own.”

Monaco are understood to be monitoring Juan's progress and will have someone watching him at Kenilworth Road tomorrow and reporting back before a decision to allow him to move to Ipswich is taken.

Fabian Wilnis will today become the third Blues defender to sign a new deal when he puts pen to paper on a new one-year contract, following Jason De Vos and Chris Casement who signed on Wednesday.

Richard Naylor returns after a two-match ban while Scott Barron is fine after a tired hamstring but he is expected to make way for McEveley at some point.

Royle said: “Jay will play at some stage. We are running out of games and we would like to see him back playing.”

The maximum allocation of 1,770 Blues fans will make the trip to Kenilworth Road and the away supporters have received another accolade this week.

Preston praised the 565 travelling fans for their fortitude and behaviour at the midweek game at Deepdale earlier this month when Town lost 3-1 in controversial circumstances.

Preston's ground safety officer David Holden said: “These supporters were a credit to the club and behaved impeccably throughout the night. If only all supporters would conduct themselves in a similar fashion.

“It was a pleasure to host them and I hope they enjoyed the game despite the weather conditions and the result. They will be welcome back to Deepdale with open arms at any time.”

Tomorrow's Ipswich Town squad: Supple, Price, Barron, Sito, Wilnis, McEveley, Naylor, De Vos, Magilton, Richards, Juan, Garvan, Magilton, Brekke Skard, Bowditch, Lee and Haynes.

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