Bow back to haunt Burley

DEAN Bowditch could come back to haunt George Burley at Pride Park tomorrow.The 18-year-old striking sensation was signed when Burley was manager of Ipswich Town.

By Elvin King

DEAN Bowditch could come back to haunt George Burley at Pride Park tomorrow.

The 18-year-old striking sensation was signed when Burley was manager of Ipswich Town.

And current Derby County boss Burley, who will looking for his first Coca-Cola Championship points of the season against the Blues, stressed today how highly he rates Bowditch.

“The first time I saw Dean play I immediately asked academy director Bryan Klug where the lad's father was,” revealed Burley.

“I then spent six months persuading his dad to allow us to sign Dean. It took a lot of work, but I was determined that Dean would sign for Ipswich.

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“His elder brother, Ben, was with Tottenham at the time and I had to keep speaking to the family. In the end we got our boy.”

Joe Royle, who took over from Burley in October 2002 after the latter was sacked following

relegation from the Premiership, has hinted there may be changes up front for tomorrow's match.

He said before training today: “Dean comes into contention with Pablo Counago not able to find his form yet. Some people were surprised when Dean was left out of our starting line-up against Forest on Wednesday, but I can assure our supporters that we know what we are doing with our young players.”

Burley is convinced that golden boy Bowditch will face the Rams tomorrow.

“I expect Dean to play and he is a smashing player who has developed well since I first watched him,” he said.

“I am certain he will turn into a really top class performer,” added Burley, who was warmed by the brilliant turn-out and reception he received from Town fans for the memorial match against Newcastle last month for his friend and former coach, Dale Roberts.

“We have yet to win a point, but we faced a tough opening against Leeds and Leicester and we have another tough one against Ipswich.

“I have been encouraged by the way we have played, but disappointed in the results.

“Last season we were not strong enough at the start, but this time I have a squad that can compete at this level.”

Burley, who has yet to beat Ipswich since he took over at Pride Park, is also a fan of other Town youngsters Matt Richards and Ian Westlake.

He said: “I gave Matt his debut in the UEFA Cup while Ian has come up through the academy. Ipswich have some very good players.”

Skipper Jim Magilton is the only Town player ruled out by injury and he is having a scan on Monday on a thigh tear. Royle has named the same 17-strong squad that travelled to Forest for the 1-1 draw.

He was unhappy with his front men at the City Ground and this is where any changes are likely to be made.

“I will see how Tony Dinning is,” added Royle. “He probably got through Wednesday's game on adrenalin after being out of first team action for a while and tomorrow's match could come hard fitness-wise for him.

“We have had good reports on Derby and they were unlucky in their opening two games. It will be very tough for us but it is important we keep the momentum going with another good result.”

Westlake will be playing his 50th game for the first team.

The midfielder has netted seven goal in his previous 49 appearances, 14 of them coming as a substitute.

IPSWICH (from): Davis, Diallo, De Vos, Naylor, Richards, Miller, Dinning, Horlock, Westlake, Kuqi, Bent, Bowditch, Wilnis, Counago, Mitchell, Barron, Price.