Maidstone United’s former Ipswich Town defender George Fowler on returning to his old club in the FA Cup fourth round
Former Debenham High School pupil George Fowler is heading back to his old club after Ipswich drew Maidstone in the FA Cup fourth round.
Fowler spent seven years with the Tractor Boys, between the ages of 12 and 19, before joining Aldershot.
The defender also made a first-team appearance, with Mick McCarthy handing him his debut in a 2-1 Carabao Cup second-round defeat at Crystal Palace in 2017.
Maidstone were dreaming of landing a Premier League giant away but Fowler is more than happy to be returning to Portman Road, home of the Championship high-fliers.
Speaking to Diss Express’ sister title, Kent Online, he said: “For me, that’s where I was an academy player and I did a two-year pro there and my family are from that area as well.
“I’m sure they’ll be supporting me. I hope so anyway.
“Even though the boys were hoping for a massive Premier League club, Ipswich are a team who are up the top of the Championship so it’s going to be a great occasion for us.
“It’s a massive club, with a massive history, and they’re back on the up now and after a few down years.
“I’m sure everyone will be really looking forward to getting down there. If we weren’t to get a Prem team, that would have been who I wanted.
“I’ve actually played at Portman Road quite a few times for the 23s and stuff like that. It’s been a long time since I’ve been down there and it’ll be good to play against the proper first team.
“I had a good time there. I only played one game for the first team in the Carabao Cup, but it was a great upbringing for me at an academy level.”
Fowler watched Monday night’s draw at the Gallagher Stadium, joining fans, team-mates and manager George Elokobi in the Spitfire Lounge.
The Sky Sports cameras were present as Maidstone awaited their fate following Sam Corne’s winning penalty against Stevenage.
“Weirdly, Corney said he was more nervous watching the draw than he was taking his penalty and I know exactly what he means,” said Fowler.
“For us, when we’re on the pitch, that’s what we train for, we’re in our comfort zone but the draw is out of our hands completely.
“We deserved a big fixture and I think that’s where the nerves set in.”
Maidstone’s success in reaching the fourth round was still sinking in for Fowler this week.
They’ve played six matches, including qualifying rounds, to make this stage.
“I’ve still been watching all the videos back on my phone every time I get a spare minute,” said Fowler.
“I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet but it was an amazing day for us as a club and for us all on a personal note.
“A lot of us had our families here and it’s one we’ll never forget.
“We’ve played six games so far and Ipswich will be our seventh and I think that’s part of the reason you hope for a really big fixture.
“That’s a lot of games and lot of potential slip-ups.
“It’s an incredible accolade for us to still be in the cup and I’m really looking forward to the next round.”