Mick McCarthy admits it’ll be difficult for Ipswich Town to keep hold of in-form loanee Tom Lawrence

Tom Lawrence puts Ipswich ahead with this free-kick. Photo: James Ager

Tom Lawrence puts Ipswich ahead with this free-kick. Photo: James Ager - Credit: James Ager

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has told supporters to enjoy in-form Leicester City loanee Tom Lawrence while they can after he once again proved to be the star of the show, scoring two goals in this afternoon’s entertaining 3-2 win against fellow Championship strugglers Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road.

Lawrence opened the scoring with a low shot from the edge of the box and his sensational 30-yard strike proved to be the winner. Today’s brace took his goal tally for the campaign to seven in all competitions and he now has three strong Championship goal-of-the-season contenders following a fine solo run and finish at Sheffield Wednesday and long-range strike at QPR.

The 23-year-old Welsh international, whose two goals salvaged an FA Cup Third Round replay at non-league side Lincoln last weekend, cannot be recalled this month.

“It kind of saddens me really, because every time he scores it puts him further out of our reach,” said McCarthy. “I’m glad he’s here, of course, and scoring goals. If it wasn’t for him we’d be up a very muddy creek and without a paddle. “Thankfully we’ve got him and he’s playing as well as he is. I could hear the fans singing ‘sign him on, sign him on’. That would be lovely, but I think he’ll have a few more options than Ipswich Town to be honest with you. In the summer he’ll have options and we’d like to be one of them.”

Asked if he would definitely be at Ipswich for the whole season, McCarthy replied: “Yes.”

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But it’s a case of enjoy him while you can? “He’ll have plenty of options in the summer,” said the Blues boss. “He should rejoice in the fact that he is playing as well as he is in a team that’s not been playing well. He’s been carrying the weight with his goals and performances. Just keep enjoying it. Disturbing that and going elsewhere, which he can’t at the minute, but going elsewhere sometimes means you don’t play. Right now everybody loves him and that’s the time you should enjoy your football. The riches will come. I don’t think he’s skint anyway, but the riches and rewards will come through playing like that.

“It’s a lovely time in your life when you’re getting the adulation from the fans and everybody is talking about you.”

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On his team’s bold and brave display, which really got the Blues fans back on side, McCarthy said: “There has been some doom and gloom and rightfully so because we’ve not been playing very well and winning enough games here. This was a good performance and we should have won more comfortably. We’ve found our one thousand and third way to give goals away and I hope that’s it for a while now – that would be nice.

“I thought we played well. It was a good performance. We almost contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by giving goals away. We’d got the game by the scruff of the neck at 1-0 then gave a goal away. Similarly when we were 3-1 up and that just made for a nervy end.”

Blackburn boss Owen Coyle felt his side had two good shouts for a penalty in the closing stages, one for an alleged handball by Adam Webster and the other following Josh Emmanuel’s challenge on Derrick Williams in the box.

“Yeah, I was worried, because the way things have been going it could have ended up 3-3,” admitted the Blues boss. “I imagine Coyley has been in here bleating like a lamb has he? I know he’ll understand when I say f*** him! He’s a mate of mine and we’ll go and have a beer.

“Maybe it was a penalty. I haven’t seen it again, but my heart was in mouth because the way things are going I could see myself needing a new tin hat.”

McCarthy added: “The crowd were great. I had lovely support coming out, people saying ‘we’re still with you’ and ‘keep going’. That was nice. I keep reminding people there is a lot tougher places than here when you’re having a tough time, believe me. Our fans have been very supportive and they’ve been great today.”

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