Mick McCarthy has seven strikers to choose from – Jay Emmanuel-Thomas being one of them
IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy has a wealth of striker options at his disposal – and he hopes they bring out the best of the enigmatic Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as a front man.
The Blues boss is set to hand the powerful and pacey Tyrone Barnett his debut for the visit of in-form Nottingham Forest to Portman Road tonight.
QPR loanee DJ Campbell took his goalscoring tally to five in nine games with his penalty equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Peterborough, while fellow poacher Michael Chopra – handed his first start under the new boss in that game – impressed with his work-rate.
Celtic loanee Daryl Murphy has been used as a striker too and his physical presence has been a useful weapon on occasions. And with Bilel Mohsni and Jason Scotland also options, many would have thought Emmanuel-Thomas would be used in the same winger’s role that he was under previous manager Paul Jewell.
McCarthy has been bringing him off the bench as an out-and-out striker though – and he’s desperate to see the skilful Arsenal graduate make the most of his raw talent in that position.
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“It’s great having all these strikers isn’t it?” said the Blues boss. “It’s better than having no options that’s for sure.
“Tyrone Barnett will give us a bit of power and pace, DJ Campbell has been Johnny on the spot, while I thought Michael (Chopra) did well at the weekend without having any real chances. He worked hard and put a good shift in. And if we can get him some chances, he’s a finisher.
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“I’d like to think that Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can play up front too. He’s not going to be like Tyrone Barnett or Daryl Murphy – he’d be different to both of them. If you could get him to back in, win headers and do all the hard yards, we could have a real player.” He continued: “He’s Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to me. I’ve told him I’ll call him JET when he looks like he’s got a rocket up his backside! Until then he will be Jay to me.
“We all know he could be anything he wants to be, he’s got terrific ability and we need to get that out of him.
“We can help get the best out of him, without a doubt. We quite fancy him up the pitch at centre-forward. He’s six foot three or four, he’s a big powerful guy, he can run at people – it’s just getting him in the box to get a goal. Terry (Connor) is working with him individually and he’ll be getting more of that over the coming weeks.”