Counago future is still not clear
TRANSFER-listed Pablo Counago provided the inspiration as Ipswich Town went top of the league for the first time in five years.
TRANSFER-listed Pablo Counago provided the inspiration as Ipswich Town went top of the league for the first time in five years, writes Derek Davis.
But Blues boss Joe Royle insists the Spanish striker is still top of the transfer list.
Counago netted his first goal since last January when he scored against Crewe and helped set up Darren Bent's third goal of the season as the Blues maintained winning home form with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.
The Spaniard has been left out in the cold by Royle this season but hopes an Indian summer will see him among the goals again.
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Counago said: "The last few games have been frustrating for me as I have not played so to come back and score a goal and help to team win the game is really good.
"I scored for me, to help give me more confidence and more importantly for the team to win and be top of the league."
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Every outfield player made a point of congratulating Counago personally in a show of solidarity for the Spaniard, a gesture he appreciated.
"The players know the situation for me. The manager wanted to sell me during the transfer window, which was a difficult position for me and my team-mates know that. They have been good towards me and it is important for me to know they have the confidence in me as they have shown.
"Of course, the team is always happy when someone scores."
Counago doesn't believe this one game will be the deciding factor for Royle to start playing him regularly again.
He said: "I don't have to convince Joe. He knows what I can do as do the other players. I will continue to work hard, the window is shut so perhaps I will get more playing time.
"People know I can play but it is difficult when you are not playing, not just for me but all the players.
"I have not played too much since scoring against Crewe. I had injuries last season and a suspension. This season I have been fit, but I can't score if I don't get minutes on the pitch. I have had about 100 minutes in total before this game, and you can't score many in that."
Royle confirmed Counago is still on a free transfer, but insisted there was no problem between them.
He said: "My relationship with Pablo is fine. He keeps his own counsel and he has felt that I have probably ignored at times when he feels he should have played.
"My answer to him is that if you play like that Pablo, it is hard to leave you out.
"He has special talent. He is strong for his size, he is exceptionally quick which he doesn't use enough and he showed that he can win a big header.
"If you add that to a bit hard work it is a potent force for us so I just hope he picks it up."
Counago flicked on a long kick from Kelvin Davis for Bent to run on and score his third Town goal of the season. He then pulled out a clever finish of his own to score Town's second.
Counago admitted heading is not his forte and joked: "I want to be an English player." He added: "I don't win too many headers but I tried and won the ball and Darren scored a good goal so I was happy to help him score.
"As for my goal, It was a difficult ball but I managed to turn and get the left-foot shot in. Sometimes they work, other times they don't."