Cole Skuse can fill the void left by Grant Leadbitter at Ipswich Town
- Credit: Archant
IPSWICH Town new boy Cole Skuse will fill the void left by Grant Leadbitter at Portman Road.
So says Jon Stead, the former Blues striker who has spent the last three seasons playing alongside Town’s latest recruit at Bristol City.
With the Portman Road faithful desperate to see some pacy, direct-running wingers added to the squad this summer, the addition of 27-year-old central-midfielder Skuse – scorer of just nine goals in more than 300 appearances for his hometown club – didn’t immediately set pulses racing.
And Stead’s choice of comparison to Leadbitter – a player whose sideways passing style didn’t make him universally popular during his three years in Suffolk – will do little to raise excitement levels.
Leadbitter was recently named Middlesbrough’s Player-of-the-Season though and Stead insists that every Championship club needs a player who more often then not retains possession in the middle of the pitch.
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“Cole is a similar type of player to Grant Leadbitter,” said Stead, who played alongside the latter during his two seasons at Ipswich. “Technically he’s excellent – one of the best I’ve played with. He’s a clever player, comfortable with both feet and capable of picking that killer pass.
“Instead of working one or two openings during an attack, Cole’s ability to keep popping the ball around means you can sustain an attack for longer. The only thing you could pick him up on is that he could maybe score a few more goals, but that’s a minor criticism really.
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“He keeps the team ticking over and that’s so important in the Championship. He can play in that holding role, breaking up play and building from the back, but he’s a clever footballer and can see that killer pass when it’s on. When he’s on his game he’s generally one of the first names on the team sheet.”
“He just keeps things ticking over and that’s so important in the Championship. I can tell you, team-mates appreciate a player like him.”
The 30-year-old front man added: “Ipswich are getting a very good player. Cole asked me about Ipswich and I had nothing but good things to say – both about the club and the area. I told him that it’s a well-run club, a family club, and that the fans will get right behind him.
“I think Ipswich fans are very similar to Bristol City ones in that they respect players who work hard and give their all for the team. I certainly found that to be the case from a personal point of view and Cole is certainly the sort of player who will give everything for the club.
“He may not always get the headlines, but you can’t underestimate the role he has in the team and within the club.
“He’s been at Bristol (City) all his career and built up a real rapport with the fans. He’s the sort of person that will really get involved with the community and immerse himself in the club and the town.
“He’s a great lad to have around the dressing room and a brilliant professional off-the-pitch, but people shouldn’t forget that he’s a very good player too.”
Stead – a free agent after his contract at the relegated Robins expired City expired – has moved back to his hometown of Huddersfield and is hopeful that a Championship club in that area will make a move for his services.