Brett Pitman will have to keep ploughing a lone furrow up front
Brett Pitman will have to keep ploughing a lone furrow up front for Ipswich Town.
With Daryl Murphy having been sold, David McGoldrick back on the treatment table and Freddie Sears still being utilised on the wing, Pitman has operated as the sole striker for the last four matches.
It’s been a thankless task at times, the ex-Bournemouth player having to run the channels, defend from the front and fight for loose balls and McCarthy admitted last week that he couldn’t keep ‘flogging’ him indefinitely as the fixtures continue to come thick and fast.
However, with Luke Varney having reported a tight hamstring and Leon Best still deemed not fit enough to start, Pitman will continue being the focal point of the attack at Leeds United tomorrow.
“Reg (Varney) is a doubt with a tight hamstring, Besty is still not fully fit, so he (Pitman) is going to have to keep legging it for now,” said McCarthy.
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“I think Pits is just a really good footballer. He’s played in midfield for us, he’s played wide left – he’ll go and do whatever I ask him to do, which is a lovely thing to have as a manager or coach.
“He’s relishing the fact that, at the moment, he’s the top man. He’s enjoying being the number one striker in the team and I think he helps bring everyone else into play. I really do think he’s done it selflessly. I think he’s been terrific.”
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Best, who joined as a free agent at the end of last month, scored his third goal in as many Under-23 games for Town in Monday night’s 4-0 win over Leeds at Portman Road. That came after his impressive late cameo appearance in the goalless home draw with Aston Villa last Saturday.
“He’s trained really well this week,” said McCarthy. “He’s getting there, but he’s not had his pre-season.
“I was pleased with him the other night because he put a shift in. He’s a real handful and it would have been lovely had he scored with his first touch last weekend because that certainly gets people warming to you.”