Scowcroft signs

APPROPRIATELY enough on Valentine's Day, James Scowcroft was reunited with his first love.Although he has thoroughly enjoyed his four-year fling at Leicester City, and is still officially with them, the 29-year-old could not resist the Ipswich Town call asking him back.

APPROPRIATELY enough on Valentine's Day, James Scowcroft was reunited with his first love.

Although he has thoroughly enjoyed his four-year fling at Leicester City, and is still officially with them, the 29-year-old could not resist the Ipswich Town call asking him back.

The Blues have been flirting with Scowcroft for some time.

The EADT revealed last year how Joe Royle was keen to sign the forward and, when Micky Adams had left the Foxes, they tried again.


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Their new manager, Craig Levein, wanted to keep his harem together for a while but, once he had brought in his own stock, the Scot was more amenable.

A quiet drink with Royle after Saturday's game, brought the engagement closer and, after a little sweet-talking from the Town manager, the player was also swept off his feet.

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Scowcroft fell in love with the Blues, joining as an apprentice from his home town Bury St Edmunds and made his debut against Stockport County in the League Cup in October 1995, netting his first goal the following February in the 1-0 league win against Stoke City.

Things have changed though, with a new look to the training ground and Portman Road, not to mention the squad.

Scowcroft was welcomed back by skipper Jim Magilton, who was complaining about the elbow to the head which left him with a lump, but Scowie didn't get off scot free either at the time.

Scowcroft said: “There are a few familiar faces but the place has certainly changed a lot in the four years I have been away.”

He doesn't intend leaving again and knows he has three months in which to convince his new boss that he was right to covet him for so long.

Scowcroft said: “It is my intention to make the switch a permanent one. I'm here until the end of the season so I hope to win a contract but, at the moment, all I'm doing is concentrating on one game at a time.”

Although he endured a rocky patch first time round, Scowcroft was voted Player of the Year in 2000.

A heady first year back in the Premiership followed, where his close on-pitch relationship with Marcus Stewart bore fruit, with his partner notching 19 goals, the highest by an Englishman at that level and Scowcroft netted six.

But, for no apparent reason, manager George Burley decided he didn't want to be seen with him again and passed him on to Leicester City, getting £3m in return.

And, so started a new relationship in the midlands, which Scowcroft has no regrets about.

In the four years he was with the Foxes, Scowcroft hit 28 goals in 147 outings, won promotion with them as well and was popular with the supporters, who are sad to see him go.

Scowcroft said: “I enjoyed my time at Leicester and have no regrets about going there. But nothing surprises you in football and now I have a new challenge.”

Although he will have been back just eight days, Scowcroft is expected to make his 250th Ipswich appearance next Tuesday at Portman Road against Watford.

A goal on his debut at Preston on Friday would seal a marriage made in heaven - well, Joe Royle's office actually.

n KEVIN Horlock is hoping to be fit for Friday's visit to Preston North End, after suffering a shoulder injury. The midfielder took a knock in the win over Leicester City on Saturday and, after a painful weekend, saw a club doctor yesterday and is expected to resume training on Thursday.

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