Leon Best can emulate Daryl Murphy’s success at Ipswich Town, says Mick McCarthy

New signing Leon Best at Reading

New signing Leon Best at Reading

Blues boss Mick McCarthy believes Leon Best can replicate Daryl Murphy’s renaissance at Portman Road, ahead of tonight’s Championship trip to Derby County.

The striker, 29, was brought in by the Blues boss, just before the transfer window closed, having been without a club after leaving Rotherham at the end of last season.

Murphy joined the Blues on a free transfer from Celtic in the summer of 2013, following several loan spells at Portman Road, but his arrival hardly set Town fans’ pulses racing.

Prior to his permanent move to Ipswich, Murphy had played in the top two English divisions and in Scotland for several seasons, but was hardly a prolific target-man.

However, McCarthy and assistant manager Terry Connor got to work with the Republic of Ireland man and Town reaped the financial rewards, collecting more than £3m for the 33-year-old, from Newcastle, last month.

As for Best, he has scored goals at virtually every club he has played for, but injuries have hampered his progress and he found himself out of work during the summer.

“If somebody like that wants to come here, he could have the best years of his career if he wanted,” said McCarthy.

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“He (Best) could have three really good years, taking him to 33-34. If he does that and scores his goals and plays as well as he can, we will all be delighted to have him.

“He has had a few injuries which is always difficult but he played 16 on the bounce for Rotherham and he had been suffering from a hernia that he’d had repaired and wasn’t fully right.

“Now he is OK, he is fully fit. He has not really had a proper pre-season so we don’t want to give him the old microwave fitness regime and give him a month’s training a week, because he will get injured. But we will get him doing his bits and he will be good.”

McCarthy added: “There’s lots to work with. And there is that thing where, if you have been at the top and your career just keeps spiralling for whatever reason, there’s got to be an end point to that.

“If you have got quality and belief and you’re prepared to work hard, then this is a really good place for you.

“TC (Terry Connor) will work with him in front of goal as he does with all the players and I think he has improved every single one of them.”

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