Alex Mathie: Ipswich Town need David Norris-type midfielder
- Credit: Archant
Having played with some illustrious midfield names from the Portman Road past, Alex Mathie is well qualified to scrutinise Town’s current goalscoring shortfalls.
The retired striker, a popular figure with Blues fans, scored 47 goals in 134 games for the club and became a cult hero for his 40-minute hat-trick against bitter rivals, Norwich City, during Town’s 5-0 win, in February 1998
The scorer of Ipswich’s two other goals that day, Bobby Petta, was a winger by trade, but chipped in with seven of Town’s 77 league goals that season.
The Blues have a rich tradition of producing goalscoring midfielders with John Wark leading the way, but latterly, the likes of Paul Mason, Matt Holland, Micky Stockwell and David Norris have assumed responsibility for scoring crucial goals from the engine-room.
With Town the joint-lowest goalscorers in the Championship, Mathie says Town are crying out for a similar type of player.
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“The midfield have played well this season but they are not getting far enough up the pitch and I feel someone like a David Norris figure, who can get beyong the strikers, is just what we need right now,” said the BBC Radio Suffolk pundit.
“I played with a few in that mould at Ipswich.
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“I remember Matt Holland reaching double figures in his first season at the club and you had Kieron Dyer playing alongside him.
“There was also the likes of Mick Stockwell, Paul Mason, Bobby Petta and even Gus Uhlenbeek who would get forward and chip in with a few goals.
“As a striker, having those types of players in your team gives you more options as you are able to hold the ball up for the midfielder to run on to.
“You can also link up with your wide players on the left and right.”
Town’s midfield have contributed just four goals this season and a lack of creativity and cutting-edge is costing Town dear, with recent defeats at Blackburn and Bristol City prime examples.
“I was crying out for Carlos (Edwards) to be pushed back into midfield but he is not getting the crosses in like he was a couple of seasons ago,” said the Scot.
“Lee Martin does get forward but when he gets in the box, his final ball is not always there.”
He added: “I have always maintained that Town need to add a couple of players, especially in wide areas.
“Mick (McCarthy) is adamant he does not need to strengthen his squad though, and who am I to argue?”
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