Ipswich still holds a place in Bowditch’s heart

Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0033
Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0033

There won’t be any split loyalties for Dean Bowditch on Saturday as he comes up against the side which gave him his first big break in football.

Ipswich Town are the visitors at stadium:mk this weekend - the club which handed the 29-year-old his first start aged just 16.

Bowditch went on to make 82 appearances for the Tractor Boys, scoring nine goals - becoming the youngest Ipswich player to score a hat-trick - before being released in 2009 and heading to Yeovil.

Now in his fifth season with MK Dons, Bowditch comes up against his former club for the first time and though he still has a lot of affinity towards the team which gave him his first opportunity in the game, Bowditch insists he wants only one result come the final whistle.

“I still always look to see how they get on, and I want them to do well, except this weekend of course,” he said. “It was a while ago that I was there now, but I spent a lot of time there and I’ve got a lot of fond memories of Ipswich.

“It’s a club I love and I’m looking forward to playing against them, if I’m playing. I still speak to people there and have a lot of respect for the place.”

Ipswich have been the perennial nearly-men in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League in 2002, failing in three play-off campaigns to get back into the top flight.

Under Mick McCarthy, they finished sixth last season but lost in the semi-finals to bitter rivals Norwich City, who went on to win promotion.

“To be fair, they’ve been close for many years even when I was there,” Bowditch added. “They get there or thereabouts, but never quite make it.

“The year before I made it into the squad, they got relegated and we all thought they’d bounce back and for a couple of years it looked like they might but it just didn’t happen.

“I don’t know whether it’s because they recruit well, but they’re always there and just can’t get over the line. But I think this year will be the same - hopefully they do well.

“I’m sure Mick McCarthy will have them well-drilled, but I’m more concerned with the weekend and hopefully we can do a number over them.”