‘No doubt about it, Searsy is a goalscorer’ – Varney backs Freddie to be the answer to Town’s striker problems
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Freddie Sears will rediscover his goalscoring touch if played up front, says his former Ipswich Town team-mate Luke Varney.
Sears hit the ground running following his £100k switch from Essex neighbours Colchester United in January 2015, scoring 13 times in his first 29 appearances, but the goals dried up badly after he was converted to a winger (now 11 in 127 games).
The 28-year-old finished last season well under Bryan Klug’s caretaker management, scoring against both Reading and Middlesbrough when played up top, but then started the first game of Paul Hurst’s management on the left flank. He then slipped down the pecking order to the point where he was left out of squads entirely for four matches in a row.
Injuries to Jon Walters and Ellis Harrison have opened the door for him again though and, after a positive impact off the bench in the 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough, he led the line superbly in last Saturday’s 3-2 win at Swansea.
“Searsy was on fire during my time at the club,” recalls Varney, who was at Portman Road between 2015 and 2017. “I always thought he played better up alongside a target man, like Murph (Daryl Murphy) or myself. Then he got moved wide.
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“I’ve had it before in my career. If you stop scoring for a while you can get put on the wing and it does knock your confidence. You are thinking ‘am I just here for my work rate?’
“You can become a victim of your own selflessness in that scenario. As much as you tell yourself that you’re contributing the lacks of goals and chances can weigh on your mind.”
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Varney, now 36 and at League Two side Cheltenham Town, added: “For me, there’s no doubt about it, Searsy is a goalscorer. He’s proven that in the past and I’m sure he will prove it again if given a proper chance up front.
“Saturday’s performance will have given him a lot of confidence and, for strikers, you can’t underestimate the power of that.”
He added: “Ipswich will always be a club close to my heart. I still speak to a lot of the lads and it’s one of the first results I look out for.
“I hope that win last weekend can act as a springboard for them and they can build some momentum.
“What I will say is there is no better skipper for this type of situation than Chambo (Luke Chambers). He’s the best I’ve had in my career in terms of the demands he puts on players and his attention to detail. It ranges from little things, like sorting tickets out for everyone and helping new signings settle, to being there for younger players. I’ve been at clubs where senior captains can be confrontational, but he is so approachable.
“He really helped me after my (long-term Achilles) injury to the point where he organised a bit of a whip round for me when my contract expired. That was a nice touch, something he didn’t need to do and something I’ll not forget.”