Fraser on deeper role, 'daft' injury and three 'huge' games
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller - stephenw
Ipswich Town midfielder Scott Fraser says he's ready to pull the strings from a deeper role if called upon.
The silky Scot arrived at the Blues in the summer with the reputation as one of League One's most effective No.10s, having scored 30 goals and provided 25 assists over three seasons at Burton and MK Dons.
Opportunities to shine in that position for the Blues have been few and far between for the 26-year-old though.
Having initially been utilised on the flanks by Paul Cook, Fraser recently missed five games with a knee injury before returning to operate as one of the two deep-lying midfielders Tuesday night's goalless home draw with Colchester in the Papa John's Trophy.
"I really enjoyed it," he said, having received plenty of praise for his display.
"Any time you have an injury you just want to get back out there as soon as you can.
"I thought I played well and I thought the team played well overall. We just lacked that last bit, which is obviously the most important part."
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Asked if he'd played that deeper role much before, Fraser explained: "Not too much as a two. Whenever I've played that role it's normally been in a three-man midfield.
"But I'll play wherever the gaffer wants me to play because we have got good players in every position.
"The defensive side of the game is more important in that role. It's also more about supplying the three behind the striker and starting attacks more than finishing them off, which is thing I have done most over the years.
"It was an opportunity for me to get on the ball and show a different side of my game. I'm glad I did that."
Fraser continued: "This is definitely the strongest squad I have been a part of. In every position we have got two or three players that would, without being disrespectful, walk into most League One teams
"The standard in training is very, very high. So if you can play in more than one area of the pitch it's going to benefit you because the competition for places is so high."
On his recent injury set-back, he explained: "It was a daft one really. I was blocking a pass in training and it just opened up my knee. I've tweaked my left medial ligament and was sent down to London to see a specialist. I got an injection to try and ease the pain, which it did for a while, but I'm still feeling it. There's still a bit of swelling. It's just a case of waiting for it to settle down.
"I've got a really good relationship with the gaffer. I speak to him most days. Was I worried about losing my place? I think you are always worried about that when you get an injury, but I have got a lot of belief in my ability and I know how good I can be.
"But, as I said, with the strength we have in this squad, you don't want to be missing games if you can help it."
Fraser scored on his Town debut against Morecambe and would have had another were his penalty not saved at Burton. He has two assists to his name too, including the cool swept pass for Conor Chaplin's late leveller against Sheffield Wednesday.
"I think in the modern game it's all about numbers for attacking players," he said. "I do class myself more as an attacking midfielder and if you look at my stats over the last few years you can see how good I can be. I feel like I have still got a lot more to show here.
"I want goals, I want assists, I want to create chances. With the squad we have got, I have no doubt that will come."
Sam Morsy and Lee Evans have been the men in possession of the two deep midfield slots recently. Rekeem Harper seems to have been repurposed as a more attacking midfielder, while Tom Carroll and Jon Nolan have been injured. The aforementioned means academy graduate Idris El Mizouni has got a bit of game-time this season.
"I don't think Tom Carroll is far away and when he comes back it's going to be another very, very good player pushing for a midfield position," said Fraser.
"I'll be honest, Iddy wasn't someone I was really aware of before I signed here. But it only took a week into training before I felt him on the back of me though! He really enjoys a tackle in training. He's certainly one of those players who trains how he plays, which is a good thing.
"Everyone's really happy for him signing the new deal. The group chat was very lively once it had been announced. I think that just shows you the group that we've got here. We're all very supportive of each other, whether that's the boys who are playing or the boys that aren't playing.
"We've got strong players who want to play in that centre midfield position. Iddy's just got to keep his head down and keep battling away. He's obviously doing well for the gaffer to give him a new three-year contract and he's got to take confidence from that."
Town are up to ninth in the table after claiming 20 points from their last 10 league games. They now face successive games against current top-six sides in Oxford United (h), Sunderland (a) and Rotherham (h).
"Our next three games are huge," admitted Fraser. "We're only four points behind Oxford, so Saturday's game is huge. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and keep doing what we're doing.
"We have been on a good run. Even the Plymouth game, I felt we should have won that with the chances we had. It's a positive place at the minute and we need to keep it that way."