Mick McCarthy hopes he can beat off stiff competition for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake signature

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy hopes his relationship with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will give him a chance of beating off some serious competition for the free agent.

Ebanks-Blake – twice a Golden Boot winner in the Championship – worked under McCarthy at Wolves, the club he was released by in the summer.

The 27-year-old is just returning to light training after breaking his leg at the back end of last season, doing his rehabilitation work at Wolves and understood to be around four weeks away from being match ready.

When asked if there was anything in reports that he would like to sign the striker, McCarthy initially said ‘no there is isn’t’, but the longer he spoke about the powerful front man the more positive he sounded about the prospect of being reunited with the player.

“I spoke to Sylvan a few weeks ago to see how he was doing, but nothing more,” said McCarthy. “He is waiting until he is fully fit after a real nasty injury. I just wanted to see how he was doing and encourage him, that’s all.

“He’s not coming here. I’d love him and if I could I would. If was fit and we could get him I’d have him here tomorrow.”

Asked if it was finances that would prevent a deal, he said: “I never discuss budget. He’s not doing anything until he’s fit. He’s getting his treatment at Wolves at the moment, but he won’t get any game time there once he’s fit.

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“He’ll have to get some game time. Who knows where he’ll end up. If I can get him here I will. It’s not been about money or whether he wants to come, he’s just not ready yet. Do you know what? There will be a hell of a lot of takers when Sylvan is fit.”

When quizzed about his conversation with the striker, the Blues boss said: “I picked the phone up and rang him. I was in the car and had nothing else to do.

“Sylvan was a great signing for me and if I could sign him again, when he’s fit, I would. Let me tell you, 23 other sides in the Championship will be saying the same. And some in the Premier League I would have thought.

“Would my relationship with him give us an edge? Yes it would. All things being equal, depending on where we are in the league, how many points we’ve got, what’s happening... yeah of course it would because I’ve got a relationship with him. If I hadn’t then I wouldn’t have picked the phone up.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that another of his former Wolves players now without a club, Stephen Hunt, has been training at Playford Road this week but that a deal is highly unlikely.

“Hunty was great for me at Wolves, he asked me if he could come down and train and I said yes,” said McCarthy. “He’s got an infectious personality, he works hard and he’s just hoping something will turn up for him.

“That won’t be here though. I don’t need another left-sided player. I’ve got Tabby (Jay Tabb), Tunners (Ryan Tunnicliffe) and Woody (Anthony Wordsworth) who hasn’t even featured yet.

“It’s not a position I’m looking for, but if that changed then there is a player of his ability not even getting a game. It’s bonkers (the players that are out of work) this year.”

– Ipswich Town host Brighton today. For live match updates, follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter.