Royle throws down gauntlet to Dean

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is urging teen ace Dean Bowditch to return a “changed player” for the new season.The young striker, who will be 19 in June, will be busy during the summer on a fitness programme designed to add muscle to his menace.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is urging teen ace Dean Bowditch to return a “changed player” for the new season.

The young striker, who will be 19 in June, will be busy during the summer on a fitness programme designed to add muscle to his menace.

And with England Under-21 international Darren Bent heading for the Portman Road exit door, it could be a very important 2005-2006 campaign for the Essex youngster.

He would like nothing more than to establish himself as a first team regular as Town look to mount yet another promotion challenge.

Bowditch, one of the most sought-after schoolboys in the country before opting to launch his career with Ipswich, burst on to the first team scene in a dramatic East Anglian derby at Carrow Road in March 2003.

He was just 16 when he came off the bench to set up both his side's goals as they secured a 2-0 win over the Canaries.

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In March last year he became the youngest-ever Ipswich player to net a hat-trick when Watford were dumped 4-1 at Portman Road.

But the talented England youth international has only made 13 senior league starts and last season, with twin strikers Bent and Shefki Kuqi netting 39 goals between them, he found it particularly difficult to force his way into the side.

Royle allowed him to join Burnley on loan for the last ten games of the season, during which time he scored once and he was back at Portman Road in time to be a substitute in the decisive play-off clash with West Ham.

“Dean has the ability and nobody would question that,” said Royle, “but even players with all the skill in the world must deliver an end product.

“In Dean's case it should be goals and I hope he comes back for pre-season training in July with a determination to start scoring on a regular basis.

“While we are trying to build him up physically, it's not all about pumping iron. Think back and there wasn't much to the likes of Billy Bremner or Alan Ball, but it didn't stop them becoming great players.

“Dean needs a bit more in the way of mental strength. He needs to sharpen his mind. He's only a young boy and the talent is definitely there.

“I just want him to find that bit extra and come back a changed player, ready to respond to the challenges that lie ahead.”