‘Don’t change Joe!’ – McCarthy reveals chat with fiery striker Garner
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Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has told lead striker Joe Garner not to worry about his mini goal drought and implored him never to lose his fiery edge.
The 29-year-old hit the ground running following his £750k summer switch from Glasgow Rangers, scoring three goals in his first four outings, but has found the net just once since then and has now gone seven games without a goal.
His all-action play at the top end of the field has enabled the supporting trio of David McGoldrick, Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina the time and space to do damage though.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s Championship visit of Sheffield Wednesday, McCarthy – whose side have scored 28 goals in 16 league games – said: “I had a conversation with Joe just to explain how much better we are with him in the team; and how much better the players around him are with him in the team; how much better we are able to keep the ball up front with him in the team; and how much we can upset defenders and centre-backs with him in the team.
“He’ll want a goal, but I’m saying ‘forget about that – just keep doing what you’re doing’.”
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He jokingly added: “Of course on the way out I did add – ‘but a goal would be nice’ – I couldn’t let him off completely!”
The Blues boss continued: “It was important to tell him how much he is appreciated and what he does for the team with that selfless work and running and everything he gives to us.
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“He’s so important. He’s clever with his positioning and his movement and his touch. I knew he was a good player, but he’s a far better footballer than I thought he was.
“He’ll get his goals. He started off really well and they’ll come again.”
Garner – who is one booking away from a suspension – certainly plays on the edge in terms of competitive spirit. He could easily have seen red for trying to wrestle the ball away from defender Michael Hector seconds after being shown a yellow card in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Hull City.
“I don’t want him to change,” said McCarthy. “If he gets booked and he gets suspended then someone else will have to come in.
“That’s the way he plays. I love him to bits for it and defenders hate him for it, so keep going Joe!”