Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits Freddie Sears needs to regain the scoring touch

Freddie Sears battling with Christian Stuani during the Ipswich Town v Middlesbrough (Championship)

Freddie Sears battling with Christian Stuani during the Ipswich Town v Middlesbrough (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 04 December 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has admitted Freddie Sears needs to regain his goalscoring touch sooner rather than later.

The 26-year-old forward has failed to find the net in his last 20 games – a run stretching back to the Blues’ 2-1 win at Fulham on December 15.

That miserable run is in stark contrast to last season, when the former West Ham man became an instant hit after signing from Colchester United for £100,000 last January – the hitman scoring nine times in 23 games as Town reached the play-offs.

Most of that tally came as a result of Sears partnering 27-goal Daryl Murphy in attack, whereas this season, the Londoner has often played wide in a three-pronged attack, along with 10-goal Murphy and nine-goal Brett Pitman.

However, while McCarthy conceded Sears –who drew a blank again in the goalless draw with Charlton on Tuesday night –had not always played in his favoured position, he defended his selection and stressed the striker had spurned several opportunities in front of goal this season.

“He (Sears) has always played as a forward, whichever way he has played,” said McCarthy.

“If he has played in a wide area, we play with wingers that push on. If he has played in a three, which he has quite a lot, he has had a load of chances.

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“His preferred role is down the middle but it’s needs must and what I love about Freddie is how selfless he is. He will play anywhere for the team.

“The longer it goes, of course, the more likely he is to snatch at a chance, so he needs a goal.”

Sears has not been the only player short of goals this season. McCarthy’s defence, usually a reliable source of goals during a season, have just six between them this term.

“We haven’t (scored as many goals) but had we not given away so many stupid goals, the ones we have scored would have been enough,” added McCarthy.