John McGreal says ‘grafter’ Freddie Sears is getting his rewards at Ipswich Town
- Credit: sarah lucy brown
Ipswich Town play-off winner John McGreal would like to see former Colchester United hitman Freddie Sears spearhead a new breed of Blues heroes at the end of this month.
Town are potentially 90 minutes away from a Championship Play-Off final against either Brentford or Middlesbrough, having drawn 1-1 with East Anglian rivals Norwich City in the semi-final first-leg, at Portman Road, on Saturday.
McGreal was a play-off winner with Town in 2000, the Blues defeating Barnsley 4-2 to reach the Premiership.
Now 15 years on, the Colchester under-21 manager hopes history can repeat itself on May 25, and says he would be especially pleased for Sears to be successful.
“Freddie Sears has been unbelievable and has added an extra string to their (Ipswich’s) bow, it was a move that worked out well when Ipswich needed that extra push,” said McGreal, who scored five goals in 153 games for the Blues between 1999 and 2004.
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“People forget that he played in the Premier League with West Ham and he had a big reputation.
“He has scored goals throughout his career at Colchester and this season he has played more in the number nine role and that has been good for him.
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“Joe Dunne (former Colchester manager) then Tony Humes and Richard Hall worked with him, but it comes down to the individual mainly and, having watched him from a distance, I have seen he is a grafter and that has proved in his performances.
“If you do the work you get the rewards. “It’s taken a couple of years longer than he probably thought but he’s at a great club and it’s fantastic for him.”
Sears cut a quieter than normal figure in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Portman Road, but did produce the shot that was spilled by John Ruddy which allowed Paul Anderson to tap in the equaliser.
That goal lifted the roof off Portman Road and McGreal admitted he used to relish derby day. “It was a brilliant, new experience for me, coming from Tranmere, where the derbies were really very small against Chester and Wrexham,” said McGreal.
“Portman Road and Carrow Road would be packed to the rim and there was a great atmosphere. The build-up during the week was fantastic and because Ipswich was such a tight area, you knew a lot of fans and knew how important it was to them.”