Kevin Beattie excited by new-look Ipswich Town, ahead of Reading clash

Leon Best

Leon Best - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie believes the Blues have conducted sound summer business, despite star striker Daryl Murphy’s exit.

Murphy, 33, left for Newcastle last month in a deal thought to be worth around £3m to Ipswich, who visit Reading on Friday night.

His departure left a sizeable gap in attack, but Blues boss Mick McCarthy has since signed free agent striker Leon Best, to compete with Brett Pitman, Freddie Sears and Luke Varney for a place in attack.

Winger Grant Ward has scored four goals in five league games since joining on a permanent basis, while Premier League loanees Conor Grant, Tom Lawrence and Jonny Williams will add flair and creativity in the final third.

Asked if Town were in a stronger position now than when the window opened in July, Beattie said: “Without a doubt.

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“Had they been able to bring in another forward I would have been even happier, but I am confident for the season ahead.

“Mick (McCarthy) has got such a good choice now for those attacking positions and it will be tough for him to find his best combination.

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“We have a midfielder now, in Grant Ward, that scores goals and (Leon) Best has had a lot of clubs, but has a great track record.

“He (Best) can play up front on his own, even though he is a slightly different player to Murphy, while we have Luke Varney, who is still a very good striker.

“We need to keep faith with Freddie Sears, I believe he only needs one goal to get on a run, while I think Brett Pitman is excellent and will probably start on his own, up front on Friday.”

McCarthy has spent over £1m in transfer fees during the summer, while a fair amount of expenditure has gone towards paying towards the wages of Grant, Lawrence and Williams.

Even so, what Town have spent is a drop in the ocean, compared to big spenders such as Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich

“The sale of Murphy was good business. He’s done us proud but he is 33 now and some people are saying we have got three or four million for him,” explained Beattie.

“There are a lot of big spenders out there, like Norwich and Newcastle, but Huddersfield are top of the league and who would have thought that at this early stage?

“You don’t have to spend millions.”

He added: “Town are also bringing in lots of players aged 20 and 21 and that should give everyone a lift as they will only get better.”

Best scored in Town’s under-23s’ 2-1 victory over Millwall yesterday, but later withdrew as a precaution, with an ankle knock.

Steady with Teddy - Page 62

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