Ipswich Town manager excited by new signing James Alabi’s potential

James Alabi

James Alabi - Credit: Archant

Mick McCarthy believes James Alabi is another rough diamond with the potential to shine at Ipswich Town.

The 20-year-old striker has penned a one-year deal at Portman Road, having impressed during a trial period, and could feature in tonight’s Capital One Cup second round clash at League One side Doncaster Rovers.

Alabi was released by Stoke in the summer, and spent time with Scottish giants Celtic, although international clearance prevented him from playing for the Bhoys.

Alabi could lead the line in an extremely young-looking team that will definitely feature Irish midfielder Adam McDonnell, right-back Josh Emmanuel and left-back Myles Kenlock, the latter signing his first professional contract yesterday.

McCarthy is excited by his crop of youngsters and believes the experience of playing competitive games will benefit his starlets, including Alabi, who may even be considered for first-team action before the season ends.

Asked if Alabi could provide another attacking option, McCarthy said: “I don’t see why not.

“He is different to our other strikers and there’s no doubt he will improve, working (on his finishing) with Terry Connor every Friday.

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“He is a big powerful lad, very quick, there’s lots of improvement in him. He wants to listen, he wants to learn, that’s been evident since the day he came here.

“Everything we have said to him, tried to advise him on and improve with him, he has worked on – even in the two weeks he has been here – and he has certainly made our under-21s team better.

“He’s been a real focal point, with his power, strength and pace and seeing the quality (strikers) in front of him will only help.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy, who refused to confirm or deny an interest in Polish defender Piotr Malarczyk, said he was delighted Kenlock had signed his first deal: “Myles was progressing nicely in pre-season and I saw him make his debut against Stevenage when he was excellent.

“Myles and Josh (Emmanuel) are our two prospects at full-backs and will both be playing tomorrow night.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy will be without goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who is back in Poland following the death of his father.

McCarthy explained: “I experienced it myself when I was away with Ireland in Cyprus and my father was on his last legs.

“I flew home and I fully understand the situation.

“If it was me, I’d be gone and Terry Connor would be in charge, and likewise.

“Family comes first because they will always be there.”

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