Ranking Ipswich Town's top seven target men of the last 40 years

Paul Mariner scored on this day in 1981

Paul Mariner, Ipswich Town's classic No. 9 - Credit: Archant

In the latest in this series, football writer Carl Marston compiles his top seven Ipswich Town centre forwards, or target men, of the last 40 years

As with the previous midfielders category, Ipswich Town have been blessed with such a big crop of fine strikers over the last 40 years, with perhaps the exception of the last decade, that I have split this section into two halves.

Part one focuses on the traditional centre forwards, the big target men with their dominance in the air, while part two will embrace the smaller, faster, free-scoring front runners, all who have donned a Town shirt during the period from the successful 1980-81 season through to the current day.

Of course inevitability there is a degree of overlap between the two sections, with strikers having so many different qualities,  but here's my take on Town's Top Seven target-men centre forwards of the last 40 years.

If you like, for the traditionalists, those players suitable to wearing the No. 9 shirt as opposed to the No. 10.

Those unlucky to miss out include Marcus Bent, Jon Stead and Pablo Counago (not really a target man). Not so lucky perhaps are Lee Chapman and Tamas Priskin!

6 - Paul Mariner

Paul Mariner, top of the list of Town's top seven target men of the last 40 years - Credit: Archant

1 PAUL MARINER

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The archetypal No. 9, Mariner deservedly tops this list, even though half of his Town career was played out during the second half of the 1970s, including hitting the woodwork in the FA Cup Final victory over Arsenal.

A legendary figure at Portman Road, with his longish hair and confident strut, Mariner spearheaded Town's attack during the Sir Bobby Robson era.

A former favourite at his first club Plymouth, Mariner scored 26 goals in 58 appearances during Town's successful 1980-81 campaign, culminating in UEFA Cup glory, and in all plundered 136 goals in 337 games for the Suffolk club, a terrific goal-scoring ratio.

His qualities were also recognised by England, with 13 goals scored in 35 international appearances.

Ian Marshall celebrates his goal as Town beat Portsmouth 3-2 at Portman Road in 1995

Ian Marshall, a big presence up front for Town - Credit: Archant

2 IAN MARSHALL

Always an awkward customer to mark, Liverpool-born Marshall led Town's front-line in the early 1990s, alongside the likes of Bontcho Guentchev and Alex Mathie.

He played for Town in the Premier League under John Lyall, top-scoring with 15 goals (10 in the league) in his first season of 1993-94, and top-scored again with 19 goals (alongside Mathie) in the second tier under George Burley in 1995-96.

A centre-half as well as a centre forward, Marshall was powerful in the air, and he also made the club a small profit - he was bought from Oldham for £750,000 and sold to Leicester for £800,000.

James Scowcroft returned to Ipswich for a short loan spell in 2005. Photo: Archant

James Scowcroft, an effective target man and a product of Town's Academy - Credit: Phill Heywood

3 JAMES SCOWCROFT

A successful product of the Portman Road Academy, Scowcroft was a tower of strength during the second half of the 1990s, playing a huge role in helping Town to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2000.

Although never a prolific scorer, Scowcroft did net 13 league goals during that promotion campaign, and 13 the previous season, in all scoring 47 goals in 206 league appearances before his £3 million switch to Leicester in 2001.

Always handy in the air, with neat control, Suffolk-born Scowcroft fulfilled his rich talent, which included a handful of appearances for England Under-21s.

Shefki Kuqi celebrates scoring Town's second goal against Sheffield United in February 2005

Shefki Kuqi celebrates a goal against Sheffield United in more conventional style

4 SHEFKI KUQI

A big hit with Town fans, Kosovo-born Kuqi formed a dynamic partnership with Darren Bent, the duo's different strengths combining to good effect during the 2004-05 season when both men netted 19 goals in the Championship.

Kuqi, a Finnish international, chose to sign for Ipswich rather than Norwich, after an initial loan spell, and for that he will always be remembered with fondness and admiration.

He scored some memorable goals during his 88 appearances, with some equally memorable goal celebrations, which can either be described as unique swan dives or a big bellyflops, before his move into the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers.

Connor Wickham

Connor Wickham, a teenage sensation at Portman Road - Credit: Archant

5 CONNOR WICKHAM

Although he only made 72 first-team appearances (35 of them as a substitute) for Town, 6ft 2ins teenage prodigy Wickham caused a stir whenever he got onto the park during the troubled eras of Roy Keane and Paul Jewell.

Powerhouse Wickham became the youngest player to make his Town debut, at 16 years and 11 days, when coming on as a substitute in a home defeat to Doncaster in April, 2006. He later scored a hat-trick against the same opposition at the Keepmoat Stadium.

He scored nine goals in 37 league outings in 2010-11 before completing a big £8 million move to Sunderland.

Alan Lee scores for Town at Carrow Road, Norwich. Photo: ALEX FAIRFULL

Alan Lee scores for Town at Carrow Road, Norwich. Photo: ALEX FAIRFULL

6 ALAN LEE

Strong and tall, and quick off the mark, target man Lee had two fruitful seasons at Town in the Championship.

He scored 17 goals in the 2006-07 season, and a further 12 the following campaign, under manager Jim Magilton.

Bought for £100,000 from Cardiff at the start of 2006, and sold to Crystal Palace for more than £600,000, he also earned the club a handy profit.

Mich D'Avray scored as the Blues beat Liverpool on this day in 1982

Mich D'Avray celebrates scoring against Liverpool - Credit: Archant


7 MICH D'AVRAY

This likeable South African was a mainstay of Town's squad during the whole of the 1980s, so his longevity alone is enough to sneak him into this top bracket.

The Johannesburg-born striker turned up on Suffolk soil in late 1979, and proceeded to play more than 200 games and score 38 goals for Town.

Although never a natural goalscorer, D'Avray proved a very useful asset over the years and scored some very important goals. Armed with a distinct moustache and wiry figure, he was often unleashed off the bench to ruffle defences.

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