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Dozzell: A Big Season For the Club Ahead
Monday, 10th May 2021 14:19

Midfielder Andre Dozzell was pleased that the Blues ended their disappointing 2020/21 campaign on a high with yesterday’s 3-1 home victory over Fleetwood and is already looking forward to next season and getting the Blues back into the Championship at the third time of asking.

Dozzell has been a fixture in the centre of midfield since Paul Cook took charge, having previously been a regular under Paul Lambert’s management earlier in the season.

“It was important for us to end on a high and take it into next pre-season,” Dozzell said. “We’ve got time to recharge now.

“We’ll do that and we’ll come back, we’ll work hard in pre-season and look to get ourselves out of League One.”

The 22-year-old admits it’s been a tough few weeks with the Blues’ chances of promotion having evaporated during an under par April.

“It has been difficult, it’s been really disappointing,” he said. “As a whole squad, we know we haven’t performed to our best. It’s too big a club to be in League One. We’ve just got to come back in pre-season and work hard.”

Asked what difference new manager Paul Cook has made since he came in at the start of March, Dozzell said: “Just his controlling of the game, he’s always shouting on the sidelines where to be, it just helps us a lot. I think when we get a pre-season under him it’ll be come clearer and it’ll translate onto the pitch.

“He does a lot with everyone [on the training pitch]. With midfielders, he does a lot because he wants us to dictate the play, keep getting on it. He’s relentless, he doesn’t want us to stop. It’s good for everyone.”

Dozzell has made 42 league starts and one sub appearance this season, more than anyone else at the club and more than in his previous five seasons in the first-team squad combined.

“It’s been my most appearances so it’s been good on that note, to get those games under my belt,” he said. “And now it’s time to really push on and try and get this team out of League One.”

Latterly Dozzell has partnered Flynn Downes in central midfield and he believes the two dovetail well.

“I think he complements my game,” he said. ”I enjoy playing with him and I think he enjoys playing with me.”

Having added only two more senior strikes to his debut goal at Sheffield Wednesday as a 16-year-old in April 2016, Dozzell knows he needs to find the target more regularly.

“I always can improve my game,” he said. “That’s one of those areas, getting higher up the pitch, getting goals. But that’s something we’ll look at in pre-season and try to improve on.”

The academy product says he’s excited by what lies in store for the Blues under Cook and the club’s new ownership.

“I am, of course. Being at this big club, obviously it’s been disappointing this year, but we’ve just got to look forward now,” he said. “This season’s done, so we just have to try and get in the Championship next season.”

Before then, plenty of Dozzell’s current team-mates will be making their Portman Road departures with news anticipated on the out-of-contract players this afternoon.

“It’s always sad to see your team-mates move on but that’s football,” he reflected. “You’ve just got to focus on yourself, focus on what you bring to the team and try and help the team.”

Dozzell insists what will remain of the squad is strong enough for Cook to building upon over the summer ahead of the new season.

“One hundred per cent,” he said. “I think the squad we have has underachieved and we’ve got to come back in pre-season and look at why we underachieved and go from there.”

It's now been confirmed that one of those moving on is skipper Luke Chambers, who Dozzell says has had a big impact on his career.

“I’ve known him ever since I’ve been at this club. He’s a great lad around the place, everyone loves him, and a great professional,” he said.

“You don’t get to 700-odd appearances if you’re not a great professional, so he’s going to be a big miss if he does go.”

Has Chambers been a bit harshly treated by some supporters at times? “You could say that, yes. That’s part and parcel of the game. I’m sure he knows that as well, he’s an experienced player. I think we just get on with it.”

Dozzell says Cole Skuse, whose exit has also now been confirmed, will similarly be missed. He says the Bristolian has been something of a role model for him as a fellow deep-lying central midfielder.

“I used to be in the stands watching him,” Dozzell continued. “As I said about Luke, Cole is a great professional as well, on and off the pitch. Always helps the young lads. If he is to go, then it will be sad.

“They’re just good people off the pitch. They welcome you into the [squad] because when you’re young going into a first-team environment can be quite daunting. But those two will put an arm around you, help you out and teach you stuff along the way. They’re two big characters for the club.”

As a former academy player and with dad Jason one of their coaches, Dozzell has taken a close interest in the U18s’ progress in the FA Youth Cup with their semi-final against Liverpool on Wednesday evening at Portman Road.

“They’ve done so well so far,” he said. “I watched their last game [the 3-2 after-extra-time victory over Sheffield United] and they were absolutely brilliant. Hopefully we can even get to the final. It will be a big test for them but I’m sure they’ll be able to do us proud.

“It’s a cup semi-final, anything can happen on the day and with the quality they showed in the last game, I’m sure they’ll be up for it.”

The Ipswich-born schemer believes youngsters will still have a big part to play in the club’s future despite the new owners’ money.

“I think that’s part of the club, bringing players through,” he said. “When you see the U18s doing well you’re thinking there’ll be a few of them coming through.”

Turning back to the Blues’ prospects in 2021/22, Dozzell added: “I can’t wait. It’s going to be a big season for all of us, a big season for the club and hopefully we can get to the Championship.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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TimmyH added 14:26 - May 10
Not out of contract so they've got him to talk...but very underwhelming this past season, need to get him to up his work rate and be better when he hasn't got the ball.

Juggsy added 14:36 - May 10
Dozzell: I like playing with Flynn and I think he likes playing with me.
Downes: *hands in transfer request

BigHibbs added 14:38 - May 10
i know theres plenty of haters on here, but him and Flynn as a two have improved so much in recent months. Andre has made more appearances than anyone this season. as for his work rate rate it seems only me and opta realise how much work he puts in. his eye for a pass is miles the best at the club. He has made the third most tackles in the division this season. if we actualy had some clever forward making the correct runs he would lookas good as he did for england for the past 4 years or so. where he often found runs from Sancho, Abraham and the like. IMO first name on the team sheet next season

adeblueboy added 14:38 - May 10
Not good enough, very over rated, can't score, can't pass forward or tackle and win the ball back, but he can pass the ball backwards, foul and pull players shirts!!

TimmyH added 14:53 - May 10
BigHibbs...rubbish! he ambles around the pitch, dreadful tackler, yes puts in the odd good pass which he's known for but the amount of matches he never even attempts to put a shot in on goal... only seems to like dead ball situations (other than penalties). Have you actually been watching any games this season? He was only benched for 1 game this entire season when others were dropped much quicker on the back of a game i.e. Kenlock.

Also the term 'hater' is 9times out of 10 incorrectly used on social media, I don't hate Andre I just say what I've seen and this is 'criticism' not 'hating'...

multiplescoregasms added 14:59 - May 10
adeblueboy I couldn't have put it any better. I honestly don't see what he brings to the team. He is and never will be a goal threat, he constantly, as you say, pulls shirts and plays either sideways or backwards. Not for me I'm afraid, and if we got an offer in that was reasonably decent, I would take it.

Barty added 15:21 - May 10
If he stays he must up his game considerably as this season he has offered very little.

spanishblue added 15:25 - May 10
Just recently I thought he had s as actually improved, thought both him and Kenlock have improved considerably this year, I’ve lost count of the amount of times Mick Mills has said he’s not a defensive midfielder, this season should of benefited greatly, and I have watched nearly every game

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 15:31 - May 10
He assumes he's staying?

Paddy39 added 15:35 - May 10
He is one that should have been out the door. Most appearances this season and was never seen in many of the games. He seemed to hide at important times. Gave away stupid fouls in our own half allowing the opposition the chance to put us under pressure. To stay at Town, IT'S A NO FROM ME.

SpiritOfJohn added 16:15 - May 10
Andre has picked up far too many yellow cards in the past due to the high number of petty fouls he committed. However, there have been signs in recent weeks that he has improved in this area. I expect this improvement to continue as he gets stronger and more experienced. It is difficult to judge players based on iFollow, as it only follows the ball, but he can definitely pick a pass when he has willing runners in front of him. But agree with others that it is time for Andre to start turning potential into MOTM performances.

Cheshire_Blue added 16:52 - May 10
Could he be the new target of the numpties with Chambers and Skuse gone ?

ThaiBlue added 17:15 - May 10
It was an important season just gone and the 1 before that and both been poor so why is this season going to be important andre?you have bee very poor for the majority of both seasons,lazy,no goals no creative play.will never lace his dads boots and would not be a loss if he gets sold like a few others to mention.

TimmyH added 17:17 - May 10
Plenty of 'numpties' on here...if they think Dozzell has been good this last season, far from it, hopefully he'll improve.

xantherick added 17:19 - May 10
Hopefully he will leave, sorry but the lot need to go this afternoon.

Beattiesballbag added 21:19 - May 10
Might be ok if allowed space, just not strong enough for this division, when the results were still important every team knew they could close him down & he will play the ball back, anything else going forward there were as many poor passes as good ones & no goal threat......still looks like he's playing at the same pace as the international youths or under 23's.

Skip73 added 22:32 - May 10
He's one of the main problems. He should be amongst the first out if the door.

shakytown added 10:44 - May 11
One of the most over-rated players ever. The odd good pass does not a pro footballer make. Time to step Andre.

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