Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy prepared to play the waiting game in search for striker

Town goalscorer Joe Garner gets to the ball ahead of Cameron James against Colchester. Photos: PAGEP

Town goalscorer Joe Garner gets to the ball ahead of Cameron James against Colchester. Photos: PAGEPIX.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is prepared to play a waiting game to sign the right striker before the transfer window shuts.

The Blues boss is keen to land a fourth front man to compete with Joe Garner, Freddie Sears and David McGoldrick following the summer departures of Brett Pitman, Leon Best and Kieffer Moore.

He declared, on Monday, that he was confident of getting his man before his side’s Championship opener against Birmingham City, at Portman Road, on August 5.

However, following last night’s 1-0 friendly win at Colchester United, McCarthy seemed less bullish about an imminent arrival. “We’re still working on it,” he said, the transfer window not shutting until the end of August. “We’ll get somebody I’m sure. It would be nice to have one before the start, but the other thing is not jumping and taking one when something else might happen.

“There are a lot clubs not quite sure what they are doing. They might do business and then someone becomes available.”

Summer signing Garner arrived from Rangers in a £750k deal having never been prolific at Championship level, but the 29-year-old has looked ultra-sharp in pre-season and took his goal tally to six in five friendly outings with a powerful header at The Weston Homes Community Stadium.

“If we put crosses in the box then he’ll score because he’s fabulous in the air,” enthused McCarthy. “That’s one of his real endearing qualities. He wants to go and head it and he doesn’t mind competing against much bigger centre-backs. That was an outstanding header.

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“I’m delighted with him. When you see how much strikers are going for, I think that’s looking a really good bit of business.”

He continued: “I’m really pleased with how we played. I think we deserved to win and I thought the goal was well worked. It’s always difficult when you play Colchester, they don’t want to get beaten as local rivals, but I think we had the best part of the game and played some good football.

“Last year we had to be good defending because we gave the ball away far too much. We’ve got to keep the ball better, but with the view to scoring goals and not just keeping the ball.”

The direct-running Bersant Celina and Danny Rowe impressed on the flanks as McCarthy again played a 4-4-2 system.

Asked if that was the formation he would be going with in 2017/18, he replied: “Wing-backs saved our season last year. We had the month from hell with Villa, Brighton and Leeds (in February) and I needed to change it. That helped keep us up that system and it may well get used again. We’ll see how it works out.

“I thought Bersant was unlucky with his shot and he showed his quality when he rolled Myles (Kenlock) in. I think he’s got a good bit to learn about Championship football because he’s not played in it yet, but I’m pleased with the wide lads.”

U’s boss John McGreal said: “It was a great game for us. Coming up against a lot fitter Ipswich side, who were a good passing side at times, you could see we came up a little bit short. Our shape at times was OK, but against higher-class opposition, when they move the ball quickly, we have got to think quicker.

“Gillingham, on Friday, will be another test and it will be great to pick the analysis out of those two games.”