Fowler to make City debut at Newport

Last updated : 18 March 2003 By Michael Morris
It will be a family thing for the Fowlers. Lee's brother Mike plays for Newport County.

Fowler completed a loan move to City yesterday from Coventry City. He is on the books until the end of the season and is hoping to earn a permanent deal.

This story appeared in the Echo last week before Lee had signed.

Fowler could be facing big brother

LEE Fowler is ready to take on big brother Mike.

Teenager Fowler, the Coventry City attacking midfield player who is on a week's trial with Cardiff City, is already eyeing up a Bluebirds debut against Newport County in the FAW Premier Cup on Monday, March 24.

That would put him in direct confrontation with brother Mike, a defensive midfield player at Newport County.

"I wouldn't be able to watch," said mum Anne, who, along with husband Charlie, runs the Tynewydd pub in Barry.

"They haven't played against each other since they were young lads."

Former Norwich City and Crystal Palace player Mike, aged 21 and sitting next to his brother, had no doubts: "Lee scored against Cardiff, but he wouldn't have the legs to get past me."

Wales Under-21 international Lee was born in Cardiff and, if he makes the move to the Bluebirds on a long-term basis, would move back with his family.

It is seven years since Lee was last with Cardiff City, a promising attacking midfield player in the Bluebirds' youth development system.

He was a Wales Under-18 baseball international and a more than useful rugby scrum-half, playing in the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh development squad, but soccer was his choice.

In those days, though, Cardiff weren'tset up to ensure they kept the best talent in Wales and Fowler drifted off to Premiership Coventry after trials with Blackburn Rovers, Bristol City and others.

Now he's back - Scott Young and physio Jimmy Goodfellow are the only familiar faces from seven years ago - and admits the difference at Ninian Park from his first spell at the club are massive.

"Sam Hammam has made a remarkable difference over the last couple of years or so," said Fowler.

"I've met him, he's a good man. He has everything so well organised at Ninian Park now. That wasn't always the case, particularly at youth level.

"I was with Cardiff from the age of eight through to 14 and I wanted to stay and play for the club. But the system wasn't geared up to young players staying. We didn't even get tickets for first team games.

"All that has changed, now, of course, and the young players are really looked after."

Fowler, 19, is spending this week on trial at Ninian Park with, in Lennie Lawrence's words, "a view to a more permanent deal".

He is still a Coventry City player, but manager Gary McAllister would agree to a move if things work out between the player and the Bluebirds-Over the last two years, Fowler has made 11 first team appearances for Coventry City and scored one goal - against Cardiff City in the FA Cup.

When he was named in the starting line-up for the FA Cup replay against the Bluebirds he told mum Anne and anybody else who would listen: "Put money on me to score the first goal."

Mum followed her son's advice and won a tidy sum at odds of 16-1.

Now, though, Fowler is intent on earning the chance to join Cardiff City's promotion chase. He has had his problems at Coventry, having been charged with affray following an incident outside a nightclub, and is starting a community service order.

That's behind him and Cardiff City, he hopes, will give him the chance to spark a promising football career into life.

Fowler broke into Coventry's Premiership squad at the age of 16 and was non-playing substitute against Newcastle United and Leeds United. He was also in the matchday party for games against West Ham and Bradford City.

A knee ligament injury put him out of action for months, but he has battled back and is now intent on earning first team football. He wants that to be with Cardiff City.

"The move appeals to me and I'm training with Cardiff to see if it is something which will work out," said Fowler. "I need regular first team football and I believe I can achieve that.

"I'm good enough to get into Mark Hughes' Wales squad, I am convinced of that, but first I have to make an impression at club level."

Fowler was named in the Wales Under-21 squad for their matches against Azerbaijan and Serbia-Montenegro.