We can still go up, says Bowditch
IPSWICH teenager Dean Bowditch today revealed his end-of-season dream.And the 17-year-old scoring ace, who makes his third successive league start against Wimbledon at Milton Keynes tomorrow, underlined his determination to make it come true.
IPSWICH teenager Dean Bowditch today revealed his end-of-season dream.
And the 17-year-old scoring ace, who makes his third successive league start against Wimbledon at Milton Keynes tomorrow, underlined his determination to make it come true.
Bowditch went into the record books last week when he became the youngest-ever Town star to score a hat-trick.
But he is now more interested in what the remainder of the current campaign holds in store for him and his team-mates.
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He said: "On a personal level, I just want to keep my place in the first team and continue to score goals.
"But from a team point of view it has to be the Premiership and if there's anyone here who feels we can't do it they need to think again.
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"We have the ability, the character and the attitude to get into the play-offs and then go all the way.
"We must think in terms of getting to the final at Cardiff and winning and that we can beat any team in this division."
Bowditch may be a rookie in terms of experience, but he's a classic example of an old head on young shoulders.
And he appreciates being surrounded by experienced players who are not slow to put him and his young colleagues firmly in their place.
He added: "There's no danger of me or anyone else thinking 'It's only Wimbledon, we'll beat them easily'.
"Not with the likes of Jim Magilton, John McGreal and Matt Elliott in our dressing room, constantly reminding us to stay focused and keep our feet on the ground.
"These guys are good for the young lads. We don't argue because we know that they know what they are talking about. They've been in the game a long time and we respect that."
Town are seeking a third successive league win to mark their first visit to the National Hockey Centre and boss Joe Royle has confidently named an unchanged side.
That means Bowditch and 20-year-old sidekick Darren Bent joining forces in attack for the third game in a row after they each claimed hat-tricks against Walsall and Watford in the space of just four days last week.
Anything less than three points will be a major blow to eighth-placed Town's play-off hopes, although boss Joe Royle is far less dismissive then most of the rock-bottom Dons.
He said: "They've taken points off West Brom and when Tony Mowbray saw them lose 1-0 at home on Wednesday, Millwall were better than them but they never stopped trying.
"Is this a chance to improve the goal difference? I'd settle for a 1-0 win. It's the points that are most important and we'll see about the goal difference later.
"I fancy us against anybody. We've had two good performances in the last two games – we've probably had five good performances – but we've had a break in the last couple of games.
"This is a match we need to win. We don't go anywhere and try to contain sides. We go for it."
Wimbledon, who are about to exit administration, have yet to score a home league goal, never mind bank a point, this year and the midweek defeat by Millwall was their tenth in a row.
Manager Stuart Murdoch, a former Ipswich Primary School headteacher, is resigned to the club being relegated and admits he is already planning for next season.
He said: "I can't shout at the lads because it is not their fault. We just have to keep going and build for next season. We are already talking to players who can come and help us in the Second Division."
After the Millwall defeat he said: "We've got out of the habit of looking for goalscoring opportunities, and we didn't do enough in the second half to trouble them.
"There was plenty of huff and puff, plenty of effort and hard work, but the problem is we are short of firepower."
The Dons have Dean Lewington, son of Watford boss Ray, available again after serving a three-game suspension.