Royle dismisses rumours

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today dismissed rumours linking teenager Dean Bowditch with a move away from Portman Road.Royle denied the youngster was being touted elsewhere with a view to either a loan deal or a permanent transfer.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today dismissed rumours linking teenager Dean Bowditch with a move away from Portman Road.

Royle denied the youngster was being touted elsewhere with a view to either a loan deal or a permanent transfer.

He said: “We have received neither enquiries nor offers for Dean - and we're definitely not inviting any.

“We still believe he has a future here and we see it is a big future. He is still a young man in whom we have a great deal of faith.”

Royle dismissed rumours on the football grapevine that 19-year-old academy product Bowditch was about to be jettisoned.

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It was being suggested that hard-up Town wanted to remove him from the wage bill, temporarily at least, in order to release funds that could be used to strengthen other areas of the team.

But Royle rejected the idea that the player who made his senior debut as a 16-year-old was viewed as surplus to requirements.

And he admitted Bowditch was a bit unfortunate not to earn himself a place in the starting line-up for Tuesday's 2-2 home draw with Coventry.

Royle added: “He impressed me when he came on near the end at Reading, but Adam Proudlock also did well and I couldn't start with both of them the other night.”

But although the Town boss insisted Bowditch could have an exciting future ahead of him at Portman Road, he admitted the club's financial status meant they are in no position to turn down realistic offers for any of their players.

Bowditch has started eight games this season and come on as substitute in further three - and he has yet to find the net.

He scored his only senior hat-trick against Watford, visitors to Ipswich on Saturday, in March 2004 but since then the goals have dried up - just five in 51 appearances.

Royle said: “Dean has to find the end product to all the lovely skill of his, but he's still a young man who is still growing.

“I remember sending him on for his debut at Norwich and how he turned the game for us. But in a way that has been a bit of a millstone round his neck. All of a sudden the expectancy zoomed.

“Young players need time to mature. They are not all like Wayne Rooney, a young guy in a man's body when he was in the Everton youth team.”

Ironically, it was against Watford that Bowditch scored his only goal in a ten-game spell on loan at Burnley at the end of last season.

Royle added: “That move was designed in a way to let him see the other side of the coin. I live near enough Burnley to know that it can rain for 300 days a year there.

“I'm not being disrespectful to Burnley, who are a fine club, but our facilities here are light years ahead. I knew going there would make him realise it's not all as easy and nice as it is here at Ipswich.”

Meanwhile, injured stars Owen Garvan and Kevin Horlock, forced off against Coventry, are in danger of being ruled out of the clash with Watford in 48 hours' time.

Both players had X-rays yesterday that allayed fears of more serious damage, but Garvan's ankle remains swollen and while Horlock's ribs are not cracked he is still in some discomfort.

Royle said: “Kevin surprised me by overcoming his knee injury to play against Coventry the other night, but both he and Owen are struggling for the weekend.”

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