‘Sulky’ striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake ready to dish out some hugs
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town fans will grow to love sulky striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
So says Stephen Hunt after the former Wolves duo became reunited at Portman Road last week, the pair having both been persuaded by their former boss Mick McCarthy to sign until the end of the season.
McCarthy has earmarked the FA Cup tie against League One side Preston as Ebanks-Blake’s debut, the 27-year-old having recently recovered from the broken leg and ankle ligament damage he suffered on April 1.
It’s a real transfer coup for the Blues, the striker – a two-times Golden Boot winner in the Championship – having turned down high-flying Burnley and Leicester to work with McCarthy, assistant boss Terry Connor, as well as former Wolves team-mates Hunt, Christophe Berra and Frank Nouble again.
“Me, more than anyone, knows what he brings,” said Hunt. “Don’t be fooled by his body language. He can look like he’s in a sulk, but generally he’s not!
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“He can moan on the pitch, but he just wants to score goals and just wants to win.
“He’s a funny character. When I first went to Wolves I probably thought ‘who’s this such-and-such a person’, but once you get to know him you get to like him. I think he’ll fit into the group no problem at all. He’s a loveable rogue.”
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Ebanks-Blake has scored 75 goals in four campaigns at second tier level, 14 of them coming last season in a Wolves side that ended up getting relegated to League One.
“He’s a goal machine, a natural finisher,” said Hunt. “Sometimes he strikes the ball cleanly and it goes in, sometimes he scuffs the ball and it goes in. That’s the sign of a good striker.
“I’m delighted he’s here. He’ll give us something different, for sure. Sylvan likes to feel defenders so he can turn them and shoot, Murph (Daryl Murphy) is a link-up player, Frank (Nouble) is off-the-cuff a little bit, while Didzy (David McGoldrick) is obviously on fire.
“Before he got injured last year he was flying. He was scoring goals regularly and that probably cost us relegation in the end, him not being available.”
Reacting to Hunt’s assertion that Wolves would have stayed up should he have been fit for the run-in, Ebanks-Blake joked: “Did he say that? That’s nice of him. I’ll have to give him a hug for that! I’ve got a few hugs to dish out actually because Mick has said some nice things too.”