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Deano Waiting Patiently
Deano Waiting Patiently
Friday, 14th Jan 2005 15:58

Striker Dean Bowditch says he's not too downcast despite a lack of first team opportunities this season. The frontman's best performance of the season came in the away game against tomorrow's opponents Coventry, when he scored the first of Town's goals in a 2-1 win.

Bowditch told TWTD he was disappointed to miss out on a rare start in last week's FA Cup tie with Bolton after falling ill: "It was a bit of a blow. I came down with the bug in the Thursday.

"We thought it was a 24-hour thing but it ended up being a bit longer than that. I wasn't physically up to the job, so I was told to rest and to come in on Monday once I'd got over it."

The striker concedes that he has been frustrated on occasions this season: "I suppose I have been a little bit. But the fact of the matter is the strikers are playing well, the team is playing well and we're top of the table and banging in goals.

"There's not much complaint from me as Darren is doing well and Shefki's scoring goals, so it's very difficult to go to the manager and say 'Why am I not playing?' because the reason is that the others are playing damn well!"

Bowditch came into side for the Blues' 2-1 win against Saturday's opponents at Highfield Road in October which he says was one of his best afternoons of the season so far: "The manager wanted to change the formation for that game to three up front, so it was good to get on the score-sheet."

Despite the lack of chances at Portman Road this year, Bowditch says he hasn't considered a loan move: "I'm on the bench and I'm getting little bits of games here and there, but I'm not looking to go anywhere at the moment and I'm still happy here.

"What would be more frustrating would be if the team wasn't playing well and I still wasn't playing. That's when you start to think about things but at the moment I'm happy here, and I'm still young and learning my trade."

The 18-year-old says he is looking to emulate the rise of Darren Bent, who at 20 has established himself as a first-choice striker: "I can look at him and when he was 17 he was around the first team, getting games here and there. Then, as the years have gone on, he's been getting more and more games and that's what I'm looking at doing over the next couple of years.

"The manager is protecting me a little bit and doesn't really want to throw me in because there's a lot of pressure in the first team. And when the likes of Darren and Shefki are doing so well they should be allowed to get on with it, but when I get called up, I'll go out and give it my best."

Bowditch says he still has work to do on his physique: "Darren and Shefki are older and therefore more physically developed. I'm working on that in the gym day-in, day-out, trying to get stronger.

"From 16, when I made my debut, to now I've got a lot stronger, I can feel that within myself. I've got to keep working at that and the other aspects of my game.

"I don't think I'll ever get a Shefki-like physique, though! He's massive. He's frightening and I don't think he sometimes realises how big he is. He's so good in the air too, he doesn't always realise how high he can jump."

Academy product Bowditch isn't surprised that the latest crop of youngsters are doing well in the FA Youth Cup: "I'm not surprised they are doing as well as they are as there's a lot of quality in the youth team.

"I can see the same quality as there was when the likes of Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose were coming through, players like Owen Garvan, Liam Craig and Darryl Knights can go a long way."

The good progress of Knights and fellow Academy striker Billy Clarke has got Bowditch paying attention: "When they're playing well in the Youth Cup and even when they are in the reserves, you have a little glimpse over your shoulder, thinking that maybe you should step it up a gear!

"But then, Darren and Shefki should be looking over their shoulders at me!"

Photo: Action Images

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