Freddie Sears has to believe he can still be a prolific goalscorer on the left, says Mick McCarthy

Freddie Sears reacts to a missed chance against Bolton last month. Photo: Steve Waller

Freddie Sears reacts to a missed chance against Bolton last month. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Freddie Sears has to believe that he can be a prolific goalscorer playing out on the left wing.

That’s Mick McCarthy’s message to his front man, the 26-year-old being asked to fulfil a different role for Ipswich Town in recent weeks.

Sears proved an instant hit at Portman Road following his switch from League One neighbours Colchester United at the start of the calendar year.

The former West Ham youngster scored nine times in 16 starts and seven substitute appearances at the back end of 2014/15 and carried that form into this season, finding the net four times in the opening six league games.

His threat on the shoulder of the last defender has been sacrificed of late though, the pacy, waspish forward instead asked to play wide left in order to accommodate fellow strikers Daryl Murphy and Brett Pitman.

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There’s no doubting that he’s done it with aplomb, remaining among the top performers week-after-week, but the goals have dried up – there’s been just one in his last 13 outings.

“I didn’t think a goal would come from him, I knew a goal would come,” said McCarthy, speaking about Sears’ recent strike against Charlton.

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“Playing on the left, a bit of a loose role on the left, he’s caused all sorts of damage and every game he could have had a goal, maybe two goals, and every week I’m saying to him ‘that’s great mate, brilliant, keep it going, you’re doing a great job for the team’.

“Ultimately he’s a goalscorer though and he wants to score. I was relieved when he scored because I was running out of rhetoric.”

McCarthy added: “He has to be believe he can get his goals from the left. He knows he can because he’s had the chances – he’s probably had more chances to score playing there then he has when he was playing up front.

“He’s got to score them to believe he can be a goalscorer from the left though and that’s why I’m pleased he got one at Charlton.

“He’s been great, I’ve been delighted with him. I think he’s been outstanding from the day he walked through the door. He’s just got better and better.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy was also full of praise for striker Brett Pitman, a summer addition from Bournemouth.

“I’ll say to you what I’ve said to him – he is a much better player than I ever thought he was,” said the Blues boss.

“I knew he was a good player, but it’s surprised me the technical ability that he has. He’s a very good player.

“It’s funny isn’t it? Against Wolves he lets the ball run on the edge of the box, they nick it and it ends up in the back of our net. At Charlton he lets it run and we end up scoring and that dummy is a thing of beauty. It’s thin margins isn’t it?

“He’s very selfless in the way he plays. Against Charlton I asked him to sit on (defensive midfielder Alou) Diarra because I thought he was causing us problems. It probably messed Brett’s game up, but it also messed the other fella’s game up too. And, do you know what, sometimes that’s what’s needed.”

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