Dean set to go on loan

IPSWICH striker Dean Bowditch is set to leave Portman Road on loan.The teenage striker, who has been excluded from the Town squad for tomorrow's trip to Southampton, is likely to be on his way before the transfer window closes at the end of January.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH striker Dean Bowditch is set to leave Portman Road on loan.

The teenage striker, who has been excluded from the Town squad for tomorrow's trip to Southampton, is likely to be on his way before the transfer window closes at the end of January.

Boss Joe Royle said: “If Dean goes off and kick-starts what we all know is an outstanding talent we will all benefit.


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“He spoke to me about going out on loan, which will hopefully get him going and see him score a few goals. We have had one or two clubs asking about him and Dean's agent is also looking around on his behalf.”

Bowditch, 19, has failed to score in 19 senior appearances this season - 12 of them starts - and his last Ipswich goal was in October 2004.

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The England Under-19 international was on loan at Burnley towards the end of last season, netting once in ten outings.

Royle is sticking with the 16-strong squad on duty for last week's 1-1 home draw with Sheffield United, although he is not certain to adhere to the same starting line-up.

He is desperately seeking the right man to partner new striker Alan Lee and Bowditch's impending departure will help from a financial point of view as he scours the loan market.

Tomorrow's opponents missed out on transfer target John Halls when the ex-Arsenal defender agreed a £250,000 move from Stoke to Premiership-bound Reading.

But they hope to have defender Darren Kenton available again after he was absent from last week's 1-0 defeat at QPR.

The former Norwich player, who scored a late winner in the previous week's FA Cup win over MK Dons, suffered an ankle injury during the warm-up at Loftus Road.

Chris Baird was also ruled out with a dead leg, but he, Kenton and utility man Rory Delap, who has recovered from an Achilles injury, are all confident of being fit for tomorrow's game.

Saints have managed just two wins from their last 12 league outings, banking only ten points from a possible 36.

But they have lost just twice at St Mary's this season and only the top two, Reading and Sheffield United, can boast fewer home defeats.

Theo Walcott is unlikely to feature after Arsenal agreed to pay £12 million - a world record transfer fee for a 16-year-old - and the deal looked set for completion today.

SQUADS

SOUTHAMPTON: Smith, Kenton, Baird, Lundekvam, Powell, Higginbotham, Dyer, Delap, Belmadi, Oakley, Prutton, Quashie, Folly, Blackstock, Jones, Cranie, Mills and Bialkowski.

IPSWICH: Supple, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Barron, Sito, Williams, Juan, Magilton, Garvan, Richards, Westlake, Currie, Lee, Haynes and Price.

Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset).

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