Prolific pre-season will boost Joe Garner’s confidence, says Ipswich Town legend Ray Crawford

Summer recruit Joe Garner has scored five goals in three pre-season games for Ipswich Town. Photo: P

Summer recruit Joe Garner has scored five goals in three pre-season games for Ipswich Town. Photo: PAGEPIX

Ipswich Town legend Ray Crawford says summer signing Joe Garner will be full of confidence following his prolific pre-season form.

Garner – a £750k signing from Rangers – has bagged five goals in his first three friendly outings and was only denied more thanks to some super body-on-the-line defending at Gillingham on Saturday.

“Supporters can make their minds up on new players quite early on and it then becomes difficult to change that opinion, so you want to start well – and for a striker that means scoring goals,” said ‘50s and ‘60s star Crawford, who is the club’s leading all-time scorer with 218.

“If you score a lot of goals early on then supporters will love you – and everybody wants to be loved. If you don’t score goals then people question you and you feel a weight on your shoulders.

“I was fortunate. I didn’t have a pre-season at Ipswich, but scored a couple on my debut at Swansea, although we lost 4-2, then the next week I scored at Cardiff when we won there. It helped get me going.

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“Those goals will build him (Garner) up and make him feel really good – it doesn’t matter that they are friendlies.

“As a striker you are judged on goals and, no matter what strikers say, they judge themselves on goals too. That’s all you really care about – I know that was the case for me. The team could win, but if I didn’t score I wasn’t happy. I lived to score goals. I remember almost all of them still now.”

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Meanwhile, Crawford is hopeful Brett Pitman can be a success at his hometown club of Portsmouth following a summer switch from Portman Road. He said: “I watched him last weekend, he didn’t look fully fit, but he took his two goals really well. He’s been made captain already, which is an honour, and hopefully he can make a big difference down here.”

The 81-year-old added: “I was disappointed in the Town last year. I came up for three games and on every occasion it was a let down. There was just something missing and it was horrible to hear the supporters moaning and groaning.

“Some of the performances were not up to scratch and it’s always the manager who takes the stick.

“I hope everyone gets behind Mick McCarthy again because he says what he believes and, for me, he is first class.”

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