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'He's not a million miles away' - Hurst on Dozzell and young players' progress

PUBLISHED: 16:54 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 28 September 2018

Ben Folami and Andre Dozzell played for Ipswich Town's Under 23s on Monday. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ben Folami and Andre Dozzell played for Ipswich Town's Under 23s on Monday. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Paul Hurst believes Andre Dozzell is 'not a million miles away' from the Ipswich Town first team but stressed just how difficult it is for young players to jump from the Under 23 side into the senior picture.

Andre Dozzell played the full 90 minutes in the 4-1 win over Coventry City Picture: ROSS HALLSAndre Dozzell played the full 90 minutes in the 4-1 win over Coventry City Picture: ROSS HALLS

The teenager performed well in the young Blues’ 4-1 victory over Coventry on Monday but has not been involved with the first team so far this season as Hurst and his medical team manage his fitness as he continues to recover from last season’s knee injury.

It is understood Dozzell has travelled with the Ipswich squad for tomorrow’s game and could make the bench for the clash with Birmingham.

“He did well the other night, he had a little spell along with the team where they just drifted out of it and the pleasing bit was that then he finished stronger,” Hurst added.

“He’s moving in the right direction. His fitness side, he’s not a million miles away, which is pleasing.

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“If we can get him involved, I’ve said from the start what I think of him as a player, so hopefully he might not be too far away.”

Ben Folami scored twice in Monday night’s win but is now spending a month with Australia at the AFC U19 Championship in Indonesia.

Hurst says Folami is a good example of how hard it is for young players to make the step up to senior football on a consistent basis.

“He’s back out with Australia, he’s with their team and he’s got a tournament coming up so Ben’s away for over a month,” Hurst said.

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“He had a couple of weeks away prior to that at a training camp to make sure that he was going to be part of that squad.

“It’s a great experience for him but he’s not someone we’re going to be able to call upon at this present time.”

“At times he’s impressed but at other times he’s not quite been at the standard that you would have to be to really come into the thinking.

“But that’s like a lot of young players, it’s very rare that you get a young player that can consistently stay at a level, there are lots of ups and downs and I think Ben’s been like that really from coming in.

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“He caught the eye, then he struggled in a couple of games, then he’s kind of been with the U23s more.

“But I have to say when he came back from Australia and had a couple of days with us, he looked sharp and he did well in the game the other day, so hopefully that experience has helped him and when he does come back I’m hoping that he’ll be in a good place.”

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