BIG INTERVIEW: Ipswich Town’s talismanic striker David McGoldrick talks what-ifs, why Marcus Evans played a role in his injury recovery and how his time on the sidelines turned him into a Blues fan
David McGoldrick scored 16 goals for Ipswich Town before a knee injury ended his campaign in mid-February. STUART WATSON spoke to the 26-year-old about what-ifs, his rehab and why time on the sidelines has strengthened his feelings towards the club.
Q: Hi David, it must be great to have got back out on the pitch last week at Southend and Leyton Orient?
A: “Yeah, it’s been good to be back training and being around the lads every day. The knee is getting there. You get a few aches and pains sometimes because you’ve gone from not using it for five months to hammering balls with it, but other than that it’s been fine.
“I’ve come through rehab good so far, I’ve still got to my leg work, but it’s great to be back.
Q: When do you think you’ll be ready to start a match?
A: “It’s not down to me, it’s down to the gaffer and the physios to decide when I’m ready. I want to be out there again straight away, but I’ve got to be correct with this knee.
“Saturday (against Fulham) is probably a bit too soon to start, but hopefully I’ll be involved in some way in this first game – maybe come off the bench, I don’t know.
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“If not then maybe at Crawley (in the League Cup next Tuesday), or the Reading game the following weekend.
“There is no date pencilled in, we’re just taking it day-by-day. I’d only had one or two training sessions before the Southend game, but I’d been doing loads of running before that.
“When you’re out for five months you lose a bit of sharpness, but it’s coming back slowly. When the gaffer sees fit, I’m sure he’ll put me in there.”
Q: Just how frustrating was it missing the end of last season?
A: “It was horrible. Especially when we had a chance to get to the play-offs. The Derby game was an incredible atmosphere and it was frustrating not to be out there celebrating with the boys when the winning goal went in.
“When you sit up in the stands it’s weird. You see the fans’ reaction to things on the pitch and how important it is to them. People could see me jumping up and down on my crutches. I was really supporting the team. I became a fan.
Q: Do you think the team would have made the top-six had you stayed fit?
A: “People always ask me that! You never know; it could have gone worse, it could have gone better. The boys dug deep, Murph (Daryl Murphy) stepped up to the plate well, Jonny Williams was on fire. Who knows what might have happened had I not got injured. I might have scored loads more, I might have gone on a drought. No-one knows.
Q: Leonardo Ulloa and Ross McCormack have both had big money summer moves off the back scoring plenty of goals in the Championship last season. That could have been you had injury not struck...
A: “That’s another ‘who knows’ isn’t it? I scored 16 goals, would I have got 20 without the injury – yes, maybe. But maybe not.
“There have been a lot of big transfers. Yesterday we see Forest signing someone for up to eight million (Britt Assombalonga). That’s a lot of money in the Championship and it shows the strength of the division.
“I think Ross McCormack deserved his move. Eleven million is a lot, yes, but he’ll score a lot of goals if he gets the service.”
Q: You’re now in the final year of your contract. Have any talks about a new deal started?
A: “There’s nothing on that at the minute, I just want to concentrate on getting my knee better and I’m sure everything will work out.”
Q: You’ve said you’ve become a fan. Does that mean you would like to extend your time here?
A: “I like Ipswich; they’ve taken to me and I’ve taken to the town. I like it here a lot.
“I’m happy here and I love working for the gaffer and TC. I’m not just saying that, all the boys say it – they’re top people. The gaffer has been so supportive over my injury.
“My family are down here now and settled. My kids are at school and I’m enjoying my football. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
“The gaffer has signed a three-year deal, he’s the main man here, he makes all the decisions, so when you when you see him committing his future it’s a real boost for the squad.”
Q: Sixteen goals last season before that injury... Is the target this time 20?
A: “The target is always to beat last season, so I want to beat 16. The main thing is to keep my knee healthy though, get fully fit and get in the team.
“We’ve got good strikers here. The big man (Balint Bajner), we call him Priskin (after fellow Hungarian and former Town striker Tamas). We’ve got Murph, Tayls (Paul Taylor), Frank (Nouble), Maz (Jack Marriott) is coming through. It’s going to be hard to get in the team.”
Q: Tell us a bit about the week you spent seeing a knee specialist in Philadelphia.
A: “It was a guy called Bill Knowles. He’s well known, he’s worked with Michael Owen, (Mario) Balotelli, Tiger Woods… He was name dropping left, right and centre! It’s not a bad list to be fair though. It certainly got my attention.
“A lot of the rehab stuff was all about leg strength. It wasn’t cardio. The Americans are 20 years ahead of us and they were doing stuff I’ve never done before.
“I woke up every morning and my legs were sore in a good way. I’ve continued that back here with Alex (Chapman) and BY (Matt Byard).
“I think that time in America definitely helped. I have to thank (owner) Marcus Evans for giving it the green light. It was completely different stuff to what I’ve seen and done before.
“The English way is squats and leg press, but there was none of that out there. It was more to do with core strength. I was working on parts on the leg that I’ve never felt ache before. It was really enjoyable and really eye-opening.”
Q: Ninth-place last season. What can Ipswich Town achieve in 2014/15?
A: “Obviously we know where we want to finish – every team wants to be in that top six. I think we’ve really got a good chance, but at the same time the teams that have come up and the teams that have come down are well equipped.
“It’s going to be tough. Hopefully we’ll get good home form again, I think we’ve had some good players come in and there might be a bit more activity yet.
“We’ve got a good squad and I think we can be around those top places.
“As I say, It’s going to be tough, but we say that every year. We’ve added some good players to our squad. If they fit in like I’ve seen them fit in during training I think we’ll have a good chance.
“We need a good start. There are some tough games early on, but if we can get some points – like I know we can – then it will stand us in good stead.”