Chops can be top of the charts

MICHAEL Chopra has been backed to end the season as the Championship top goalscorer – by his former manager at Cardiff City.

Ex-Bluebirds boss Dave Jones has tipped the Blues marksman after watching Chopra open his league account with two goals in the impressive 3-0 win at Bristol City last weekend.

Jones, Chopra’s manager for a total of three years, said: “If his head is right, Chopra will always score goals in the Championship. I think he will be top scorer.”

And the 27-year-old will go into today’s home match against Hull City with words of praise ringing in his ears from all corners of the Town dressing room – not to mention his face staring out at commuters at Ipswich train station.

Defender Tommy Smith said: “As we saw on Saturday, he sniffs out those chances when for other people they are not obvious to see. He manages to put the ball in the back of the net – it is a good knack to have.

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“As long as we play well as a team and provide chances for him, I am sure he will be up there at the end of the season.”

Chopra is expected to start today’s match against Hull as a lone striker, supported by the likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Lee Martin.

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And he will do so knowing his manager is only too aware of the importance of Town’s new number ten after watching his rather shot-shy replacements fail their audition against Northampton Town.

Jewell said: “We got in plenty of situations to get a second (on Tuesday night) but we weren’t clinical enough in either box. I must have said that 20 times last season - without Michael Chopra we didn’t look like we had a real goalscorer.”

Town winger Martin believes the capture of Chopra finally solves a problem that has haunted Ipswich in recent seasons.

He said: “Without being disrespectful, he’s the person we needed last year because he literally will create something out of nothing. He’ll get on the end of things that a lot of other strikers probably wouldn’t.

“It’s great to have that because when the team is on the back foot you know you’ve got a willing runner to get in behind and, nine times out of ten, he’ll find the back of the net.”

- Stay tuned to for all the team news, half and full time reports and post-match reaction from Portman Road

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